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Volume 70, Issue 147, Thursday, June 16, 2005

Life & Arts

'Adventures' keeps kids happy at adults' expense

By Tina Marie Macias
The Daily Cougar

Racer Rodriguez, the 7-year-old son of writer/director Robert Rodriguez (Spy Kids, Sin City), may face a year or two of wedgies and swirlies from classmates who hated The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3-D as much as the critics did.

Racer is, after all, the co-writer of Shark Boy and Lava Girl, and it shows. Only a 7-year-old could help develop a movie that most adult audiences will find to be a predictable and ridiculous Wizard of Oz rip-off.

But Racer's lunch money will probably not be forfeited to Bully McMeankid, because it doesn't matter what adult audiences think. Bully McMeankid and all his elementary school-aged friends will love to watch the young dreamer/hero Max's (Cayden Boyd) adventure through his dream land, Planet Drool, with a superduo -- the self-explanatory Shark Boy (Taylor Lautner) and Lava Girl (Taylor Dooley).

Max recounts the adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl, who are actually characters he dreamed up, to his class only to be bullied by Linus (Jacob Davich) and lectured by his teacher (George Lopez). But the film soon shifts to remind kids that it's OK to have an imagination. 

A tornado suddenly appears -- the first of numerous Wizard of Oz allusions -- bringing Shark Boy and Lava Girl into the real world at Max's school. They need Max to help save Planet Drool, so they take him on a journey through the Stream of Consciousness, the Sea of Confusion, the Land of Milk and Cookies and the Train of Thought that can't stay on track.

Through this cheesy, clichéd, sub-parly acted journey, Max encounters numerous friends and foes who resemble his classmates, parents and teacher. And not only are there obvious references to the good witch, bad witch and flying monkeys, Max must also blink three times to go home.

Nonetheless, children will love this upbeat, ridiculous story, which is in 3-D format for three-fourths of the movie. But don't expect good IMAX 3-D quality; the movie makes 3-D effects look as though they haven't evolved since the 1950s.

The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3-D

Rated: PG for mild action, rude humor

Starring: Taylor Lautner, Taylor Dooley

Dimension Films

Verdict: Drop the kids off at the theater unless you have a tolerance for clichés.
 

 Send comments to dcshobiz@mail.uh.edu

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