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Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events
2004 - PG - 104 Mins.
Director: Brad Silberling
Producer: Albie Hecht
Written By: Robert Gordon, Daniel Handler
Starring: Jim Carrey, Jude Law, Meryl Streep
Review by: Joe Jarvis
Official Site: http//www.unfortunateeventsmovie.com/
   
What do you get when you adapt a bunch of children’s books for the silver screen and combine the talents of Jim Carrey, Meryl Streep, Jude Law and some unknown child actors at the same time? You get "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events," a joyless family film, which gets more and more painful as the viewing goes on, featuring a principal cast that is possibly the most grating in recent cinema history.

Actually, it's mainly Jim Carrey who's particularly irksome. The other principal cast members are just bearable, but Carrey's participation in the film is one of the worst things to happen in American cinema in recent years. Why? Firstly, he simply cannot do what he's supposed to do. I find Carrey to be somewhat annoying as a comedian. As a serious actor, he's excellent (watch "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"). Unfortunately, Carrey's character (Count Olaf) is comical and falls rather flat.

The plot itself doesn't help either. This is the set-up: three eccentric children are sent to live with the mysterious Count Olaf after their parents' death in a house fire. Olaf knows that the children have inherited millions of dollars and he knows that he can get it if the children die thus he tries to kill the children. But they escape him and fall into loving care. Yes, it's unoriginal and a bit patronising in nature with kids being smarter than adults, but I suppose it's okay to spread out a whole movie.

Unfortunately, this is only a third of the movie. I must also mention that the film actually repeats itself for the next two parts of the film; every time the children go somewhere, Olaf returns in an exceedingly grating form and the kids go on the run again. After a while, I was thinking that I should catch up on a little sleep. With the cinema being dark and the movie being dull, why not? The film also suffers in terms of character development too. For example, I was left wondering why wealthy Count Olaf wanted the children's inheritance money? Call me a nitpicker, but such things hindered an already awful movie.

The film opens with a Disney parody trying to make us think we're watching a cute movie about elves, and really, I wish that this was that movie. If you really want a good family film, go and see "The Incredibles" -- a truly great animated film. But avoid trash like "Lemony Snicket" completely.
 
Movie Guru Rating
A train wreck.  So bad some may find it unintentionally entertaining.
  1 out of 5 stars

 
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