Inspector Gadget review

If you find yourself stuck in a cinema watching Disney's latest live-action cartoon, keep repeating this: it's a kids' film based on an old kids' show. For kids. But just because a movie is "for kids", that doesn't mean all criticism is automatically redundant (despite what George Lucas says). More to the point, it doesn't automatically mean the film-makers can forget about including details such as cohesive narrative, believable characters or a single line of memorable dialogue.

Trying to outline the plot would be a largely futile exercise, especially as the bugger is virtually impossible to follow. Characters are introduced for no reason, only to wander out of the story without so much as a ""see ya!"", while scenes are thrown together with an abandon which makes The Avengers or Wild Wild West look linear.

None of the cast emerge unscathed. Matthew Broderick's hapless performance will have you yearning for Godzilla (and the recent Election will seem like a fantastic dream), while Rupert Everett's desperate mugging will have you reaching for a blunt instrument. To knock yourself unconscious. As for the support, which includes fine comic players like Andy Dick, the word "wasted" doesn't even come close to summing up your frustration.

As a one-off aberration, Inspector Gadget wouldn't seem so offensive, but considering this follows the likes of Flubber and My Favourite Martian, a line must be drawn. Disney can surely still make quality live-action films, but when they crank up the budget and call in the special effects team, then Walt's boys happily take the Mickey. Seriously, when was the last time you saw a non-animated family comedy which didn't make you want to throw up? Kids deserve better.

An inexcusable mess of a movie. If there was ever a decent plot in here, then it's buried beneath a final cut which is patently a compromise between focus groups and toy manufacturers. Ignore this and go see Tarzan again.


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