Reviewed by: Dale and Karen Mason
This modern-day fantasy about a boy discovering a wish-granting genie delivered a lot more promises than fun. The only wish that we could think of while enduring this flick was “Please. Make it end soon!”
“Kazaam” is the story of a wise-cracking and extremely disrespectful 12-year-old inner city kid. While busy being mad at his divorced mom and searching for his birth-father, the boy inadvertently releases a 3,000 year old genie from a “boom box” (a nice deviation from the old rub-the-bottle idea). The rapping genie (Kazaam), played by basketball superstar Shaquille O'Neal, must grant the boy three wishes, and remain his servant until all have been fulfilled.
At first, the unlikely looking genie’s main objective is to convince junior that he actually is a genie. Once that stumbling block is overcome, the plot spends much screen time wallowing in a sleazy night spot crawling with low-life and sensual lusts; not exactly the place you’d want your jr. high boy to hang out. Additionally, the script relies on numerous street fights and violent CD-pirating thugs to maintain its action. In our opinion, the violence, disrespectfulness and nightclub sensuality significantly detracted from what little fun the movie actually possessed. A story about a genie and three wishes is an old, but fun idea. Too bad this one was dragged down by so many negative elements.
In an effort to say something nice, we must admit that there are no bed scenes, that many other PG films have more foul language, and that a weak, last-chance attempt to inspire the viewer is included near the end of the film. Yes, it may actually leave some viewers mildly encouraged to seek the best for those they love. But this film cannot significantly inspire it’s viewers because, for one thing, it doesn’t spend enough time developing viewer affinity for its characters.
“Kazaam” may be fairly well liked by its intended juvenile audience, but the adults who are actually shelling out the greenbacks required to view it will not be happy with the negative attitudes that it instills.