Wednesday, September 24, 2008


No doubt conceived as an unauthorized brainchild of "Shrek" and the works of Tim Burton, the good-natured if dark-spirited "Igor" occasionally comes off as a bit too A.D.D. for it's own good, but on top of having so many more creative ideas than most of what passes for kiddie animation flick s these days, there are so many funny bits and one-liners that it frequently verges on hilarious. Taking place in the eternally-rainy city of Malaria (a la Halloweentown), where every mad scientist has their own hunchbacked, slurring assistant -- or "Igor" -- we focus on one particular Igor, voiced by John Cusack, who gets to live out his own mad scientist fantasies after his master (John Cleese) gets accidentally decimated. The stellar voice cast is actually, for a change, put to good use. Eddie Izzard has his moments as the evil Dr. Schadenfreude, and Jennifer Coolidge is hilarious, re-creating her jarring deaf-esque "Mighty Wind" voice as a shape-shifting villainess, but the film is handily stolen by Steve Buscemi as a suicidal bunny rabbit cursed with eternal life. Some may complain about the "ugliness" of the animation, but I liked its sharp-edged, rough look, making every character look like some sort of misfit, as if by design. It's tough to know what the intended young-kid demo will make of all this, beyond being entertained by the loud sounds and color scheme, but parents dragged along should find themselves more entertained than expected. Some leaden jokes fall flat, but the film has such a demented sense of humor (a quick bit about blind orphans had me in stiches) and the jokes keep flying fast enough that I was smiling most of the way.


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