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movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Clockstoppers

Starring: Jesse Bradford, Paula Garces
Director: Jonathan Frakes
Rated: PG
RunTime: 93 Minutes
Release Date: March 2002
Genres: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Comedy

*Also starring: Miko Hughes, Garikayi Mutambirwa, Robin Thomas, Michael Biehn, French Stewart, Julia Sweeney

Review by Steve Rhodes
2½ stars out of 4

CLOCKSTOPPERS, by Jonathan Frakes, the director of many of the STAR TREK films, has an intriguing premise about something called hypertime. A black ops group within the National Security Agency has developed a watch that causes its wearer to go so super fast that everything else appears to have come almost to a stop. The best part of this setup is the way that objects like bees or water keep moving but at an extremely slow rate.

Although the plot outline possesses a lot of possibilities, most of the funny stuff is shown in the trailers. The movie itself appears to be running on hypertime in reverse as the truly funny bits get further and further apart. The film's three screenwriters, Rob Hedden, J. David Stem and David N. Weiss, come up with some pretty lame dialog that tries to pass off as humor. "You raked my leaves," Francesca DeLaCruz (Paula Garcés) tells Zak Gibbs (Jesse Bradford, BRING IT ON) when he is about to confront danger. "I can't let you go alone."

The hypertime project, of course, is controlled by rogue agents. It falls to Zak and Francesca, two teenagers, to outsmart the spooks, but, before we get to the story's more dramatic second half, the kids get to have some fun with their neat new technology. The disappointment is how relatively unimaginative they are. They thwart a few minor crimes, like graffiti painting and bike stealing, and they torment an unloved meter maid, but most of the stuff is pretty penny ante. In fact, the movie's funniest joke has nothing whatsoever to do with hypertime. Zak's mom likes to dump the family's TV dinners into big bowls after she has microwaved them in order to make them "more like homemade."

The movie has some cute moments but never rises above something that you might see on an after-school special on Nickelodeon. The only notable exceptions are the special effects, which do sometimes leave you wondering how they did that.

CLOCKSTOPPERS runs 1:33. It is rated PG for "action violence and mild language" and would be acceptable for all ages. A G rating would have been more accurate.

My son Jeffrey, almost 13, gave it ***. He said that it was pretty good and had an interesting plot.

Copyright © 2002 Steve Rhodes

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