Inspector Gadget starts out as mild-mannered security guard John Brown
(Matthew Broderick), but after being blown up by the evil Claw (Rupert Everett),
he is transformed into a comic version of Robocop with dozens of clever
devices packed into his computerized body and clothing. This technology
is the brainchild of Dr. Brenda Bradford (Joely Fisher, Ellen). The
aforementioned explosion happens during Claw's burglary of Bradford Robotics
Laboratory, which also kills Brenda's father. Since Brown has a soft spot
for Brenda, he vows to find the men who offed the senior scientist.
Claw, with the help of his hesitant minions Kramer (Andy Dick) and Sikes
(Michael G. Hagerty), uses technology stolen from Bradford Lab to create
his own Inspector Gadget the evil twin, if you will who resembles
the original exactly except that he borrowed Jim Carrey's mouthpiece from
The Mask. So the good Gadget must battle the bad Gadget while Claw
plans to dominate the world with armies of similar robot-men.
Included because they were in the TV show (and not because they have
any real bearing on the film) are Gadget's clever niece Penny (Michelle
Trachtenberg), his unsupportive police chief Quimby (an underused Dabney
Coleman), and his dog. And then, of course, there's the car. The gadget-mobile,
voiced by Fred Williamson, is so much like My
Favorite Martian's Zoot the suit, one cannot help but make the comparison.
While Gadget is floundering around learning to use his hardware, the crime
is practically solved by the car, the girl, and the dog.
The appeal of this movie is in the gadgets (as evidenced by my 4-year-old's
reaction); the script again takes a back seat to special effects. Broderick
brings his now-familiar brand of affable confusion to the role, but he can't
help the fact that this is just another hum-drum Disney formula story like
we've seen so many times before. As with last year's Godzilla,
Broderick is a good actor stuck in a mediocre, effects-driven production.
Backing performances by Everett and Dick are mildly enjoyable, but their
screen time is severely limited.
I was never a huge fan of the Inspector Gadget cartoon, but you'd think with the kind of dough Disney has, they could afford to make it a little more interesting. It would be cool to have a helicopter hat, though. ***
See Current Reviews
See FilmQuips Archive