Rated PG - Running time: 1:28 - Released 12/25/97

In Disney's rather dismal series of offerings for the 1997 holiday season (the best of which is a re-release of an 8-year-old cartoon, if that says anything), they have definitely saved the worst for last. This is probably as bad a piece of trash as the multi-zillion-dollar company has ever produced, but what do they care? They have the cash to support a few failures.

Probably the only admirable thing about this film is Leslie Neilsen's fairly accurate vocal characterization of the famous Jim Backus cartoon character Mr. Magoo. The way Neilsen portrays the jovial, nearly blind millionaire, with his sing-song, chuckling style, makes me shudder to think of how many Mr. Magoo cartoons Neilsen forced himself to watch. But beyond that, the film is almost unbearable.

In a sort of James Bond-style plot, Magoo has just donated a lot of money to a museum to acquire a huge, rare, red jewel that is worth millions. Soon after the unveiling ceremony the jewel is stolen, and because of a series of misunderstandings, Magoo is the prime suspect. The real thief, however, is Luanne Le Seur (Kelly Lynch), whose clumsy partner Morgan (Nick Chinlund) drops the jewel into Magoo's possession. She tries to get the rock by acting as though she is attracted to the self-assured tycoon, and when he finds that she is playing him for a fool, he helps the bumbling government agents (Stephen Tobolowsky and Ernie Hudson) foil her plan. Also involved is his nephew Waldo (Matthew Keeslar), and Stacey (Jennifer Garner), Waldo's love interest, a representative from the country of the jewel's origin.

The acting is spectacularly bad in this movie, especially that of Lynch, who seems to have been hired for her ability to do her own stunts and look good in sexy costumes. The possible exception is Garner, who is reasonably believable, but really her part doesn't call for that much. The script (by Pat Proft [Naked Gun] & Tom Sherohman) is moronic, and the special effects are terribly crude. Included at the end is a series of "bloopers," which was probably a last-ditch effort to aid director Stanley Tong's movie in being funny, a task it consistently fails to do. But even the outtakes aren't funny: they are mostly just extra footage at the end of scenes, and a few flubbed lines.

If anyone wants to boycott Disney, this is a better reason than any out there. *

Copyright 1998 by John R. McEwen and The Republican

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