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Overall Rating
1.49

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look: 2.33%
Average: 16.28%
Pretty Bad: 9.3%
Total Crap72.09%

5 reviews, 13 user ratings


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Zoom
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Imagine "Sky High" without any of that pesky quality getting in the way"
1 stars

Having actually sat through the incredibly awful family comedy “Zoom,” I can’t say that I am particularly surprised by Sony Pictures’s decision to refuse to screen it in advance for critics. What I am surprised is that they deemed it worthy of showing to any audience at all. This film is such a complete mess from start to finish–relentlessly unfunny, completely incoherent and technically shoddier than any A-level film in recent memory–that it comes across as less like a polished final product and more like a collection of wisely deleted scenes from some other (and presumably better) movie that have been haphazardly strung together by some AVID jockeys with too much free time on their hands.

Although apparently based on some children’s book, the premise of “Zoom” comes off like an exceptionally bold knock-off such recent favorites as “X-Men,” “The Incredibles” and last summer’s sleeper “Sky High.” Tim Allen, the go-to guy for kiddie films desperate for a vaguely recognizable leading man, stars as Jack Shepard, a now-ordinary man who used to be the powerful superhero Captain Zoom, along with his brother Colossus (Kevin Zagers) and a couple of other kids as part of a top-secret military project. Alas, the mad general in charge of the project (Rip Torn) decided to try to up their natural powers with massive doses of radiation–as a result, Colossus turned evil and Jack sacrificed his own powers in order to send his brother into orbit in order to save the world. (I think that is what happens–all of this is related through expository narration that seems to be a last-minute substitute for a more conventional opening that just didn’t work.) Three decades later, it appears that Colossus is returning to Earth and the government decides to restart the project. Four kids with weird powers–a hunky bad-boy who can disappear at will (Michael Cassidy), a shy girl who can move things with her mind (Kate Mara), a chunky boy who can inflate himself with the power of exceptionally bad CGI (Spencer Breslin) and a cute little girl with super-strength (Ryan Newman)–are recruited and Jack, who isn’t told about the impending arrival of his brother, is brought in to whip them into fighting shape in order to save the world.

Of course, Jack is still bitter and resentful at what happened to him 30 years ago and he decides to take it out on the kids by treating them like crap and refusing to train them, much to the dismay of former colleague Dr. Grant (Chevy Chase) and hero-obsessed psychologist Marsha Holloway (Courtney Cox). Of course, the grim, hateful and incredibly unpleasant Jack eventually begins to warm up to his charges and bonds with them while stealing a UFO for a trip to the local Wendy’s–a bit of product placement only slightly less overt than the stuff seen in “Talladega Nights.” Of course, Jack finds out the real reason behind the mission and learns that the same mad general who screwed things up back then is planning on irradiating this batch of kids as well (parents–always read the fine print on those permission slips). Of course, the kids band together, spring Jack from the brig and escape from the facility in order to stop Colossus and save the day in a finale that brings new meaning to the word “underwhelming.”

You will note that I have tried to make the above plot recap as coherent as humanly possible–an achievement that was apparently far too unimportant for director Peter Hewitt and screenwriters Adam Rifkin and David Berenbaum to be concerned with themselves. The screenplay is little more than a bunch of inspiring montages and booger jokes occasionally punctuated with large chunks of raw exposition dropped in at random with results so baffling that I frequently had no idea what the hell was supposed to be going on at any given moment. And even though the entire thing clocks in at a lean 83 minutes, including end-credits, the screenplay has been outrageously padded with bits that go absolutely nowhere. What, pray tell, is the point of bringing in a cutesy robot (named Mr. Pibb, in another subtle bit of product placement) or the long sequence in which the kids are treated to a government-issue prom.

Of course, you can’t simply fault the screenplay for the failures of “Zoom” because every single aspect of the film comes up short in the end. Technically, it may well be the most atrocious-looking A-budget project to come along in a long time–the visual effects all look like failed first attempts and the sound is wretched that by watching this film, you will wind up learning by default the importance of competent ADR recording. The performances are equally slip-shod as well--Allen is unbelievably obnoxious throughout, the kids are colorless dopes, Cox has little to do other than repeatedly trip over her own two feet and Chase, a guy who could really use a comeback vehicle, has been mysteriously stuck in a straight-man role that gives him not a single funny line to deliver. (Now imagine Chase in the role of the gone-to-seed superhero in your mind and I guarantee that you will get far more entertainment out of that image than anything you’ll see in the actual film.)

“Zoom” is nothing more than low-level junk from start to finish and even the littlest kids who wind up sitting through it are likely to recognize that fact. Of all the family films to come along this summer, this one is by far the most annoying and least entertaining–even a dreg like“Barnyard” comes across as the equal of the finest Pixar efforts by comparison. This is the kind of film where Tim Allen says the line “I’m being asked to betray children for money!” and it sounds less like the character and more like Allen himself on the phone with his agents.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=14956&reviewer=389
originally posted: 08/13/06 15:08:39
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User Comments

6/22/08 PAUL SHORTT A LIGHT HEARTED AND MINDLESSLY ENGAGING TIME-WASTER 3 stars
11/03/07 Tiffany Losco I liked it, But I like movies like this. 4 stars
8/07/07 Charles Tatum Allen's good for some laughs, but watch Sky High instead 2 stars
5/17/07 ES This makes the Fantastic Four look like Spiderman in comparison 1 stars
3/10/07 Jenn Stupid, pointless, lacking in emotion, character development, and plot. 1 stars
2/09/07 Donald It could of been really awesome -the kids -the script 1 stars
10/21/06 Jenna Furr Heck no, brianorndorf -- Tim Allen's no worse than the rest of it! 2 stars
10/20/06 Gretchen Seitz Mostly a random collection of annoyances. 2 stars
8/27/06 Jonah Holy crap this one sucked. 1 stars
8/19/06 ggg Gross and stupid, characters are empty, misses the magic of Sky High 1 stars
8/18/06 KAREN MATLOCK yuck ! 1 stars
8/15/06 Wilber Post Fire the Director & Editor!! 1 stars
8/12/06 KingNeutron Director rates a D-Minus, Cox is looking OLD - but "Cindy" is adorable. Wait for the DVD. 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  11-Aug-2006 (PG)
  DVD: 13-Feb-2007

UK
  N/A

Australia
  N/A


Directed by
  Peter Hewitt

Written by
  Adam Rifkin
  David Berenbaum

Cast
  Tim Allen
  Courteney Cox
  Chevy Chase
  Spencer Breslin
  Rip Torn
  Kate Mara



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