Sunday, August 30, 2009

Shorts (**)

Shorts. PG. Written and Directed by Robert Rodriguez. Starring Jimmy Bennett, James Spader, William H. Macy, Jon Cryer, Leslie Mann, and Kat Dennings.

After teaming up for Death Proof, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino have obviously taken completely different career trajectories. Shorts was released on the same day as Quentin's latest masterpiece, Inglourious Basterds, and to say that Shorts falls far short of masterful is to be kind. Like other Rodriguez productions (particularly Spy Kids and The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl), this is a homegrown kids flick with Rodriguez doing every task behind the camera and using his kids to fill in any gaps in the cast. The movie jumps around in time, and breaks its story up into little vignettes, or shorts, all centered around a magical colored rock that grants every wish of the person holding it. The adults in the movie are all throwaway characters, and despite being portrayed by talented actors (William H. Macy, Leslie Mann, James Spader), Rodriguez couldn't really care less about them and leaves them stranded, overacting up a storm to stay afloat. Shorts is silly and scatter-brained, and should prove a decent diversion for kids on DVD, but it's not a very good movie, and given Rodriguez' bountiful, but still largely untapped, potential behind the camera, one wishes he would put these childish projects away, or at least just serve as a producer on them.



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