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Overall Rating
4.06

Awesome41.25%
Worth A Look: 33.75%
Average: 17.5%
Pretty Bad: 4.38%
Total Crap: 3.13%

11 reviews, 94 user ratings


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Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by EricDSnider

"Starring Jim Carrey as Count Olaf! And then it goes downhill."
3 stars

It must get tiresome being unlucky all the time. You get into a scrape, you use your ingenuity to get out of it, and then plop, you're back in the jam again. Daniel Handler's pseudonymously written books "A Series of Unfortunate Events" have a bit of sameness about them, as each time the hapless Baudelaire orphans are set upon by the evil Count Olaf and escape by being clever. The movie, which encapsulates the first three books in the series, begins roaringly but soon loses steam, caught in the quagmire of repetitiveness.

It must get tiresome being unlucky all the time. You get into a scrape, you use your ingenuity to get out of it, and then plop, you're back in the jam again. Daniel Handler's pseudonymously written books "A Series of Unfortunate Events" have a bit of sameness about them, as each time the hapless Baudelaire orphans are set upon by the evil Count Olaf and escape by being clever. The movie, which encapsulates the first three books in the series, begins roaringly but soon loses steam, caught in the quagmire of repetitiveness.

It owes much of its initial energy to Jim Carrey, who performs the role of Count Olaf (and his various aliases) with typical Carreyan mania. Count Olaf -- granted custody to his distant relatives the Baudelaires when their parents perish in a fire -- is delirious and silly, full of idiosyncrasies and random oddness, like pronouncing "surprise" the French way, "sur-preez." He makes jokes about the youngest child, baby Sunny, being a monkey, except he also seems to actually believe she is a monkey.

Count Olaf is evil, of course, and he wants the children dead so he can stop having to care for them and start spending their money. But the older children, Violet (Emily Browning) the inventor and Klaus (Liam Aiken) the bookworm, are a crafty duo. Sullen and stubborn, they seem to accept that they are going to be miserable for a while, even as they are constantly looking for ways not to be. I admire their fortitude. Harry Potter is always about to be killed, too, but at least he has magical powers and some friends. The Baudelaires got nothin'.

The Count's nefarious plans are first thwarted by a somewhat competent lawyer (Timothy Spall), who thinks Olaf has let baby Sunny drive the car, thus making Olaf an unfit guardian. What he had actually done was lock the children in the vehicle while it was in the path of an oncoming train, but either way, Olaf is no longer a foster parent. The kids go to the home of reptile expert Uncle Monty (Billy Connolly) and are happy there, but the Count soon infiltrates and destroys that situation, and the children are bounced to Aunt Josephine (Meryl Streep), a woman so terrified of possible accidents that she doesn't even use doorknobs for fear a fire on the other side will have made them hot to the touch.

Once the initial manic charm of Jim Carrey has worn off -- and that may be sooner for some viewers than others, depending upon your general attitude toward Carrey's style -- the film settles into a rut from which it never entirely escapes. The story is dark and morbidly funny, but apart from Carrey, it is not funny enough, occasional subtitled babblings from baby Sunny notwithstanding. Director Brad Silberling's previous films -- "Casper," "City of Angels" and "Moonlight Mile" -- have all dealt with death as major themes; you may know that Silberling was dating actress Rebecca Schaeffer when she was killed by an obsessed fan in 1989, so it's understandable how his work would become flavored by thoughts of mortality. But with "A Series of Unfortunate Events," you get the feeling he's thinking too much about the underlying themes, and it prevents him from having any fun.

Where the film excels is in its production design. Not a bit of it was shot "on location" anywhere; everything was manufactured on studio lots and sound stages, so it has a whimsical, artificial look, like peering into someone's imagination while he's dreaming. If the movie were as wildly creative as it looks, it would be brilliant, instead of merely OK.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11348&reviewer=247
originally posted: 12/25/04 13:54:31
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User Comments

5/20/08 PAUL SHORTT A SENSE OF FRESHNESS AND DISCOVERY PENETRATES THE GLOOM 3 stars
3/08/08 peter i think this movie was pretty shit i think the baudelaire children should have died 1 stars
2/09/08 Samantha P i really liked this movie, i hope they make more, Jim Carrey was great as Count Olaf! 4 stars
11/03/07 Tiffany Losco Wierd but good. Jim Carreys funny 5 stars
7/14/07 Vincent Ebriega Not just beyond expectations, but beyond a usual juvenille production. 3.5/5. 4 stars
7/11/07 Hello Stranger emily browning is a great actress. cheers to liam as well 5 stars
11/11/06 Bill Hi all 5 stars
10/12/06 Xier Hernandez wow..it was really great...cool !!!!!! 5 stars
8/13/06 Andy Liam Aiken is the best part of the film 5 stars
7/20/06 David Cohen Jim Carrey's haminess ruined what should have been a classic 3 stars
6/28/06 joe koski good movie but the books are better 3 stars
6/19/06 chienne I'd never heard of LS, never read a book, but loved the film and have bought the books 5 stars
6/03/06 Elizabeth Wiley great 5 stars
5/27/06 Sarah its great! 5 stars
5/22/06 Diane P a little boring for me but my daughter loved it 3 stars
5/16/06 ororo manro It is agreat film and i would definatly watch it again,because of the unique acting skills. 1 stars
5/12/06 mr.seraph the only parts i found interested where those which included Jim Carrey 2 stars
4/04/06 John Aster Habig big fan of the books and Carrey but it was a bad adaptation, the kids actually saved it 3 stars
4/04/06 JRE the books are a lot more interresting, however Carrey did an amazing job 3 stars
3/30/06 Monique it was kool 5 stars
3/29/06 Amy cunninghamsy An exellent movie to watch 5 stars
12/12/05 Bad Critic Jim Carrey and Billy Connolly gave good performances, but it only covered three books! 3 stars
10/25/05 Stephanie The Book Is Way Better Should Have Been One Book One Movie Not Three Books In One Movie 2 stars
10/23/05 Deaf. I loved this movie! Jim Carrey is just so good at being evil. 5 stars
8/30/05 ES Started great but fizzled, they should have done a H. potter & stayed closer to the books 3 stars
8/23/05 Quigley the movie ruled. carrey was perfect. liam aiken was horrible. not to mention good CG. 5 stars
8/15/05 John Aster Habig big fan of the books and Carrey but it was a bad adaptation, the kids actually saved it 3 stars
8/08/05 reggie splendid!!! 5 stars
8/06/05 Zack Okay, it was better than "The Grinch, I'll admit, but.... 2 stars
8/01/05 Annie the kids did incredible, carrey was just creepy though 3 stars
7/23/05 summer Liam aiken sucks 1 stars
7/20/05 Sir Dude Loved it. Some of the best parts were deleted scenes, though. 5 stars
7/17/05 Pardue, sara Great Movie, The theme, imagination, and the fun is a enjoyable. 4 stars
7/03/05 Vic bull shit one of carey lesser funny movie...very tedious it dragged on 1 stars
7/03/05 anonymous It is a wonderful movie and Carrey, Browning and Aiken did phenominal! 5 stars
6/21/05 Honestly Movie good. Hated Jim; no one else available? Not looking forward to another with Jim. 3 stars
6/20/05 darick See it (especially if you haven't read the books) 4 stars
6/07/05 Darcy my son loved it 4 stars
6/05/05 Ubu the Ripper A great flick. Carrey is best when he is doing dark humor. 5 stars
5/28/05 JFK great photography and a great jim carrey performance 4 stars
5/27/05 Quigley Jim Carrey shows off his pure film magic in this. a hilarious movie. meryl streep rocked! 5 stars
5/17/05 E-FUNK I hate child-actors, but not a single complaint in this. Carrey fucking owns this. 4 stars
5/11/05 suzie suezetta good movie but not at all like the books 4 stars
5/07/05 ken good movie , very inteeresting 4 stars
5/03/05 Gary Jim Carrey was extraordinary in this 5 stars
5/01/05 Steve Newman seen this film twice - it gets better every time 4 stars
4/27/05 louis ok, but i expect more from jim, so i is good, but can be better 4 stars
4/27/05 BoyInTheDesignerBubble Beware of the spyglass. Its not in the books. It was added by the director. I smell sequal. 4 stars
4/19/05 Nicole Baugh I don't really care for Jim Carrey much but this movie was pretty good. 4 stars
4/18/05 Renita Long Fun! 4 stars
4/17/05 Lynnette Stevens We loved this movie! 5 stars
4/10/05 Jillyn It was funny and really cute, and suprisingly followed the books pretty well 5 stars
2/26/05 Mia Griggs Too gloomy - my 5 year old was scared and he likes Harry Potter 3 stars
2/25/05 Evangelica Schnapfenschalz Good, despite that Carrey (better as grinch) is monotonoutsly flat as unrelenting villain. 4 stars
2/16/05 Littlepurch Pleasing adaption of excelent bks.Glad they took enough poetic license to change some bits. 5 stars
2/06/05 Tom Benton Though fans of the books may be disappointed, the film will please the average moviegoer. 3 stars
2/05/05 Ann Klonicki This was a little over the top for young kids 3 stars
2/04/05 Mirella Rodriguez Great Movie, not for young kids 4 stars
2/04/05 craig varney great jim carrey can play anything 5 stars
2/04/05 Debbi Kalstein fun 4 stars
2/02/05 photocopy Buy posters from this movie at AllPosters.com 5 stars
1/30/05 Gretchen Lowe I was expecting something else, I don't like children's movies:) Sorry 4 stars
1/27/05 Angelique Gloster I loved the movie it was the funniest movie I've ever seen! 5 stars
1/27/05 JesseL Nice dark comedy. Carey's aping can get wearisome. Biting baby makes it. 4 stars
1/19/05 ELI Had some stupid parts, but overall it was good! :) Good visuals 4 stars
1/18/05 Paterfam001 Not funny, not scary. I can't see kids getting excited about this movie. 2 stars
1/18/05 Shaira Liam is hott! 5 stars
1/14/05 Andi it totally was not a movie worth seeing again 1 stars
1/13/05 Robby Boyajian Great Movie but, doesn't follow the book to well 4 stars
1/12/05 Seth S. Wow... It was mandititory (for school) but it was WAY better than the books! ***** 5 stars
1/07/05 Angel C. It gave a interesting twist and a new look at the book series. It is a good film, the next 4 stars
1/06/05 Chuck Craig Carry is a little over the top, but acceptable. 4 stars
1/06/05 Mrk If you are a slight bit creative, you will enjoy this film. Very well acted. 5 stars
1/03/05 Lil Poor adaptation 2 stars
1/02/05 NoRefill Pretty bored during movie. Almost fell asleep twice. Just couldn't get into it. 3 stars
1/02/05 Karel cool! 4 stars
1/02/05 Maalstrom Always entertained when Carrey's on scene 4 stars
12/31/04 Jennifer I love the books and the movie was a wonderful adaptation! It was better than awesome! 5 stars
12/30/04 Worthy Slacker WOW! What a surprise. Expected a "formula" kid movie and got a "Top 10 film of the year". 5 stars
12/29/04 Max Trying too hard to be a tim burton film! 2 stars
12/29/04 Tom Ciorciari Like Charles Addams on acid, if that's possible 4 stars
12/28/04 aubree supeer duper 5 stars
12/24/04 Titus A bit rushed, and perhaps a bit too goofy for the story, but still great 4 stars
12/22/04 John Aster Habig Love all 11 books! The kids were well cast, but adults were ok with mediocre adaptation 4 stars
12/22/04 bobbi Excellent movie, a little shallow at the end but probably because of possible sequel 5 stars
12/21/04 Devon Awesome movie, worth your money 5 stars
12/20/04 michaelb14 great story, and great telling 5 stars
12/20/04 Daveman Impressive sets, sometimes funny but pretty pedestrian all in all. 2 stars
12/19/04 Naka HAH! A pleasent surprise. 5 stars
12/19/04 KingNeutron Liam Aiken was the only weak link. Very dark and gripping story. 4 stars
12/18/04 Mahone Awesome sets, but that's about it 3 stars
12/18/04 Littlepurch Some fantastic, some dragged, but everyone should try it and will enjoy some. 4 stars
12/18/04 Cat Love the Books. Love the Film 5 stars
12/17/04 Joe Cool 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  17-Dec-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 26-Apr-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  16-Dec-2004




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