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There are kid’s movies, and then there are KID’S movies. A prime example of the latter is The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure, currently receiving a wide release in the hopeful anticipation of a very rainy Labor Day weekend. If the target audience for this film were any younger, they’d be embryos.
The brainchild of Kenn Viselman, who previously seduced tots with Teletubbies, this live-action film is designed as an interactive entertainment in which youngsters are frequently encouraged by the onscreen characters to not only to sing along, but to also get up and dance, at least until “the big person that came with you” stops you. Hopefully, those big people will consistent of legitimate parents and guardians.
It’s a little hard to report the effectiveness of the concept, since at a recent weekday matinee there was but a single listless child in the audience, who either felt uncompelled to participate or was being forcibly restrained by his guardian.
In any case, the film concerns the efforts of the three Oogieloves, played by grown-ups in what look like supremely uncomfortable foam costumes, to retrieve five magic balloons in time for the birthday party of their pet pillow, Schluufy. Helping them in their efforts are such magical creatures as Windy Window, literally a talking window, and a vacuum cleaner, J. Edgar, whose name is a joke clearly targeted for adults.
Unfortunately, grown-ups will have little else to amuse them during the tired, feature-length escapades, which are too long for attention spans of any age. Presumably as a sop to terminally bored parents, there are brief appearances by such well-known performers as Cloris Leachman, Chazz Palminteri, Cary Elwes, Jaime Pressley, Christopher Lloyd and singer Toni Braxton, the latter singing a musical ode to head colds. Presumably these stars, who will probably leave this one off their credits, got involved not so much for the paycheck but rather to impress children or grandchildren.
While the film will no doubt serve as an effective babysitting device when released on home video, seeing it in a theater is not recommended for any but the most loving and patient parents, who in any case should be prepared to spend the interminable 83 minutes perusing messages on their cell phone or reading on their Nook.
Opened August 29 (Kenn Visselman)
Cast: Cloris Leachman, Chazz Palminteri, Toni Braxton, Cary Elwes, Christopher Lloyd, Jaime Pressley, Misty Miller, Stephanie Renz, Malerie Grady
Director: Matthew Diamond
Screenwriter: Scott Stabile
Producers: Kenn Visselman, Gayle Dickie
Executive producers: Michael A. Chirco, Scott J. Moceri, David R. Schwarcz
Director of photography: Peter Klein
Editor: Girish Bhargava
Production designer: Bob Kayganich
Costume designer: Stacy Lauwers
Music: Joseph Alfuso
Rated G, 83 min.
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