Jon Cryer & William H. Macy in Shorts
What would you wish for if you found a rainbow-colored rock that told you to make a wish, then granted every wish you made?
Would you go for world peace? A million bucks?
Or, like the kids in "Shorts," would you wish for a cool castle and a moat protected by snakes and alligators, not realizing the complications that might crop up?
Me, I'd wish for writer-director
Here's some food for thought. In "Shorts," one of the centerpiece moments features a big, slimy, green special-effect booger monster named Booger Monster, which probably cost far more than the
Yes, I realize this is a children's movie. Yes, I understand that Booger Monster is aimed right at the slime-loving hearts of 9-year-old boys everywhere. But Dr. Noseworthy's (
But I digress. The story's narrator, and central player, is an 11-year-old named Toe Thompson (
Rounding out Toe's wrecking crew is his teenage sister Stacey (Kat Dennings), who finds him completely repulsive. In other words, even the kids in the audience could see the nuance marching out the back door.
The story is intentionally broken apart into segments, then tossed around and put back together again in no particular order by Toe as he zooms forward and back across the tale of rainbow rock. It's basically one hot potato of a bad wish after another, although the whirling gizmos that clean up Toe's room in a flash were not bad, at least at the start.
The main problem with "Shorts," and there are many, is in the execution. There are holes in the story that a 3-year-old could point out, the many fine comedic grown-ups are mostly squandered, and the "message" part of the movie for the kids seems as if it were thrown together during a school detention, resulting in a wrap-up that feels required and hasty.
The best moments are when the kids -- both the bad and good ones -- are plotting and scheming together, but even the tension that should have crackled through those moments kept fizzling. All of which made "Shorts" play like a very, very, very long Saturday-morning show.
"Shorts" Movie Trailer
Shorts MPAA rating: PG (for mild action and some rude humor).
Running time: 1:48.
Written and directed by
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