Gnomeo and Juliet (Rated G)

Gnomeo and Juliet (84 minutes) leaves some burning questions unanswered: where was Torchwood when all the gnomes were running around? Exactly how many poorly chosen Shakespeare references can you squeeze into 84 minutes? Why don’t the owners of the side-by-side houses get along better? Why don’t those owners ever notice all the destruction caused during mid-afternoon/overnight gnome romping? What are the Freudian implications of the big hats? How much money do you have to pay Sir Patrick Stewart to voice act in your horrible movie? And most importantly, where do little gnomes come from? How long do their parents treat them like children? And how is their apparently eternal childhood (which resembles the protracted adolescence of Claudia in Interview with a Vampire) not super-creepy?

There’s more, but it’s time to move on to making fun of Director Kelly Asbury — who took an idea with tons of potential and turned it into stale flavorless marshmallows. I mean, he may have started out on Stallion: Spirit of the Cimarron, but he moved on to do Shrek 2, which was totally cute! For all the talent involved, he got nada out of his actors. There are no genuinely likable heroes to root for, no attempt to reach beyond a straightforward Romeo and Juliet rip-off for kids, and all the secondary characters sound like they are voiced by Robin Williams. And that is not a good thing.

At least the opening of the movie is fairly cute. A little guy in a big hat stands on a stage and introduces the “two houses, alike in dignity …” while avoiding a cane that aims to remove him from the stage. Enjoy the laughs while they’re easy to come by, because they get few and far between as the movie progresses.

Mrs. Montague (Julie Walters) and Mr. Capulet (Richard Wilson) own two halves of a duplex. Their yards are filled with tribes of warring garden gnomes and other kitschy objets d’art. The blue gnomes include Gnomeo (James McAvoy), Benny (Matt Lucas), and Gnomeo’s Mother (Maggie Smith). The red gnome camp consists of Juliet (Emily Blunt), Nanette the Frog (Ashley Jensen) Tybalt (Jason Statham), Fawn the Deer (Ozzy Osbourne), and Lord Redbrick (Michael Caine).

Wait — for real? Michael Caine? Maggie Smith? Am I missing something? This movie sucks! Where did all the star power come from and why isn’t it helping the movie to not suck so much? Maybe I’m getting cynical in my old age, but the script seems to go from set piece to set piece without any real plot or substantial narrative innovation. And let us not forget the soul-destroying Elton John reboots!

A child begins screaming in the middle of the theater. I am sure we would both feel a lot better if the movie would just end already. Or maybe we just need the introduction of a cool Mercutio type character to make this all a bit more int

eresting. Hey! A pink lawn flamingo (Jim Cummings) just showed up! Maybe he’ll be cool? No. Nope. The pain goes on. The movie limps to an unsatisfying conclusion. I have no idea where all the box-office success is coming from. You’re welcome to send an e-mail and explain it to me. 

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