[Screen It]


(2012) (Misty Miller, Stephanie Renz) (G)

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Children's: A group of friends try to find five magical golden balloons in time for their good friend's surprise birthday party.
It's a new day in Lovelyloveville and the Oogieloves -- Goobie (MISTY MILLER), Zoozie (STEPHANIE RENZ) and Toofie (MALERIE GRADY) -- are planning a surprise birthday party for their pillow friend, Schluufy (voice of TARAS LOS). But their vacuum cleaner friend, J. Edgar (NICK DRAGO), has lost the five magical balloons they were going to give as presents.

Needing to get them before Schluufy wakes up, and with the guidance of magical Windy Window (MAYA STANGE) who can see the location of the balloons, the Oogieloves and their talking pet fish, Ruffy (voice of RANDY CARFANGO), set out to collect them. As they do so, they encounter a number of eclectic and sometimes eccentric characters along the way.

That includes Dotty Rounder (CLORIS LEACHMAN) who loves round things and lives high up in a tree with her granddaughter, Jubilee (KYLIE O'BRIEN), who's into squares. Then it's off to Milky Marvin's (CHAZZ PALMINTERI) milkshake shop where they must enter a milkshake drinking contest to win back the second balloon, followed by an encounter with singing diva Rosalie Rosebud (TONI BRAXTON).

That's followed by a visit with bubble happy trucker Bobby Wobbly (CAREY ELWES), and then Lola (JAIME PRESSLEY) and Lero Sombrero (CHRISTOPHER LLOYD) who live in a giant flying sombrero.

OUR TAKE: 0 out of 10
Our reviewing policy for films that aren't shown in advance to critics is that we'll only provide a few paragraphs about the film's artistic merits or, more accurately, lack thereof. After all, life is too short to spend any more effort than that on a movie that even the releasing studio knows isn't any good (which is why they hid it from reviewers before its release).

I'm all for films that are aimed squarely at entertaining very young viewers in a clean fashion, be that in a movie theater setting or at home. But since adults, guardians or older siblings or friends must accompany them to any public settings, said movies also need to provide for those older viewers. You know, like the best Disney and Pixar films, or something along the lines of the various "Muppets" pics or original TV show, or even "Pee-Wee's Playhouse" that gained something of an adult cult status.

"The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure" is not one of those offerings (although it's obviously trying to emulate the latter). Instead, it's akin to cinematic torture for adults. In fact, I kept hearing someone mutter, "The horror...The horror," as the nearly 90 minutes dragged on for what seemed like an eternity, and then realized those words were coming from me.

Even the lone other adult viewer (a mother accompanying a preschool-aged daughter) hurried her child out of the theater even before the last closing musical number was over, presumably to save whatever healthy brain cells managed to survive the barrage of lame songs, poorly costumed characters, exaggerated performances and the barely there story.

If this were the NFL, I'd be forced to sit out the rest of the reviewing season to avoid further cranial trauma. And while it's being touted as an interactive experience designed to get children singing, dancing and jumping up and down while watching it via on-screen prompts (oh joy), it's more likely to encourage, nay, force people to run from the theater in self-preservation mode.

If you absolutely have to accompany a begging child to see this, make sure you wear a helmet (presumably one that blocks out all sights and sounds) for your protection. Then again, the pic could eventually serve as a deterrent to hard criminals and terrorists who'd think twice about doing something wrong for fear of having to watch and listen to an endless loop of the Oogieloves. The film rates as a 0 out of 10.

Reviewed August 29, 2012 / Posted August 29, 2012

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