Reviewed by: Raphael Vera
|Featuring:||Kat Dennings, William H. Macy, Leslie Mann, Jimmy Bennett, Jake Short, Trevor Gagnon, Devon Gearhart, Jolie Vanier, Rebel Rodriguez, Leo Howard, Jon Cryer, James Spader, Angela Lanza, Alejandro Rose-Garcia, Cambell Westmoreland, Zoe Webb, Chris Orf, Tina Rodriguez, Jack Hurst, Jonathan Breck, Racer Rodriguez, Rocket Rodriguez, Elizabeth Avellan, Bianca Rodriguez, Pablo D. Flores, Mitchell Parrack, Patricia A. Robinson|
|Producer:||Imagenation Abu Dhabi FZ, Lin Pictures, Media Rights Capital, Troublemaker Studios, Mohammed Khalaf, Elizabeth Avellan, Ed Borgerding, Stacy Cohen, Dan Lin, Hunt Lowry, Tom Proper, Robert Rodriguez, Asif Satchu, Modi Wiczyk|
|Distributor:||Warner Bros. Pictures|
“Not so tall tales from the director of “Spy Kids””
What would you wish for?
That is the question on the mind of everyone who comes to possess “the wishing rock” and the answers are what make this film just one surprise after another.
“Shorts” begins in the suburb of Black Falls, a town run by Mr. Black (James Spader) head of BLACK BOX Inc. which produces the “do-it-all” gadget that is sweeping the nation. Toe Thompson (Jimmy Bennett) is an 11 year old whose daily school life is made miserable by the two bullying children of Mr. Black led by Helvetica Black (Jolie Vanier).
Toe, who also narrates, admits that, “I’m probably going to have to tell you this story completely out of order, in a series of shorts,” so from the outset we are prepared for a very unconventional ride of a movie that is told pretty much the way a kid would tell a story.
During five (5) “shorts” we get to meet an interesting and diverse number of characters. They include the small but confident ‘Loogie’ and his two brothers Lug & Laser, young ‘Nose’ and his germ phobic scientist dad Mr. Noseworthy (William H. Macy) and Toe’s parents (Jon Cryer, Leslie Mann) who work for Black Box and have been ordered to improve the “Box” or they’ll be fired.
Wishes, in the form of tiny space aliens, warrior crocodiles, living boogers, super powers and anything and everything do come true, just not always in the way the wisher wanted.
Rated PG primarily for peril and some rude language, the dangers are often resolved quickly and given the light hearted nature of the film most children will not be overly concerned. The language is refreshingly clean and though some of the less likeable kids are cruel and demeaning they never cross over into profanities or use the Lord’s name.
Mr. Black’s kids take after their old man, the true villain of the film, and we see early on his “do whatever it takes” cutthroat attitude when he fires some people for just voicing an opinion in a meeting. He would have considered the long term consequences if he remembered God’s admonition from Micah 2:1, “Woe to those who plan iniquity.”
For a family film I wished there were are a lot of positive values promoted but frenetic action and laughs were the point not the plot. The kids, even the bad ones, did obey and honor their parents as the fifth commandment tells us, “Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long…” (Exodus 20:12). Also presented was a comical scene where Toe’s parents learn a lesson from a literal application of Ephesians (Eph. 5:31) where it says, “For this reason a man will… be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh,” but aside from these the storyline did not allow for much else.
Robert Rodriguez, the creator of the Spy Kids franchise, has delivered another entertaining kids film that is long on action and comedy while seriously short on plot. No doubt about it, “Shorts” aims itself squarely at kids, and they will love it! Now, if you can check your adult expectations at the door you may find your ‘inner child’ enjoying this harmless but fast paced guilty pleasure. I know I did. If not it will be like listening to a stranger’s kid tell you a story and you may just end up being annoyed.
Violence: Mild / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: None
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.