Monster House

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Monster House
Review (5/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

DJ is the inquisitive neighbour of Mr. Nebbercracker, a cranky old fellow who protects his lawn like a fat kid protects a twinkie. When Nebbercracker has an unfortunate accident defending his beloved grass from a deadly children's basketball, his mysterious house seemingly comes to life and starts terrorizing anyone and everyone who crosses its path, including policemen, tricycles, four-legged creatures and stoner boyfriends. It is up to DJ and his two pals, Chowder and Jenny, to corral this house and get things under control before the monster house takes over the neighbourhood.

Monster House is the animated feature directed by recent UCLA graduate Gil Kenan, produced by Hollywood superstars Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis and featuring the voices of Steve Buscemi, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jon Heder, Kevin James, Jason Lee and Kathleen Turner, amongst others. Unlike previous animated movies like Shrek, The Incredibles and Cars, I found Monster House to be a movie more suitable for the kiddies as opposed to the kids AND old farts like myself as a lot of its predecessors have been. And even then, sitting in front of me in the theatre there were a couple of young ones who giggled loudly for the first five minutes of the movie and proceeded to be eerily quiet for most of the rest of the time...

Which leads to my next point - I really didn't find Monster House to be all that entertaining. I mean, yeah, it's a kids' movie and it is hard to slam a kids' movie, but the film, as a whole, was pretty average. Visually, Monster House is flawless and I would expect nothing less considering the technology available in this day and age. But in many other respects, the movie falls short. The three main characters were likeable but not all that endearing or memorable. There were a few chuckles but the movie, for the most part, was not funny. The climax was not terribly exciting. The climax of the movie, that is. In fact, there was not a whole lot that happened that I would consider to be exciting in any particular way. The ending was cute and cuddly, as expected.

Maybe I'm being a bit too critical (hey, it's my job) but to me, Monster House is merely a movie that you can throw the kids in a theatre to watch for 90 minutes and they will be safely entertained while you slip out to see Clerks II, Lady in the Water or whatever else it is you want to do this weekend. You won't have to worry about the youngsters. I'm sure at least if they don't like the movie, they'll enjoy the popcorn.


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