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Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius

Starring: Debi Derryberry, Rob Paulsen
Director: John A. Davis
Rated: G
RunTime: 77 Minutes
Release Date: December 2001
Genres: Animation, Family, Kids

*Also starring: Patrick Stewart, Candi Milo

Review by Harvey Karten
No Rating Supplied

Not far into the animated feature, parents who are accompanied by their kids might shudder in their boots. This is starting to look like a story that is subversive of parental authority, one which preaches anarchy and pays homage to any kid's fantasy of having fun if only his parents did not exist. Are folks in their twenties and thirties that mean-spirited that they choose to have children only to make them eternally unhappy with their rules, threatening them with being grounded and in other ways being terminal spoilsports? Do kids need daddy and mommy the way a fish needs a bicycle? Ah, but it doesn't take long--because "Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius" is only 83 minutes in length--for the folks to breathe sighs of relief. Not only is the picture anything but subversive: it is downright conservative and traditional, illustrating in no uncertain terms that children without parents are like dogs running loose, depending on trash cans for the dinners and on motorists for being sober.

The film opens on a bright, articulate lad ( Debi Derryberry) who never says "like," "totally," and "ya know," in other words the kind of kid we all wish we had. He and his chubby pal Sheen (voice of Jeff Garcia) relax before dinner by taking a quick trip in their rocket and once again crashing it into the roof to the consternation of Jimmy mom (Megan Cavangah) who had warned the boy to cease and desist--though Jimmy's Dad (Mark Decarlo) is proud of the lad and thinks that whatever he does is cool. When Jimmy is grounded, he sneaks out of the room with a couple of his pals and discovers that all parents of the village have been kidnapped by aliens in a spaceships. Not particularly eager to rescue them, the boys and girls frolic, testing the cyrenaic theory that if life is short, why not party all the time? They learn to be careful what they wish for as after stuffing themselves with cotton candy at a deserted carnival site and zipping around and around on the fun rides, they are sick and exhausted and in less the one day they already miss their parents.

Director John A. Davis focusses on the title character who leads his homesick peers on a trip to another solar system where they meet up with evil people like the arrogant King Goobot (Patrick Stewart) who have been able to pull off their antics only because they located earth through Jimmy's communication system--which he made with a toaster.

"Jimmy Neutron" in no way compares to some of the more expensive animations of the summer. Apparently using some off-the-shelf software to keep expenses down. the production company turns out colorful but uninventive animation with only occasional dialogue that could interest adults. The most amusing exchange occurs when a slow-witted Sheen, nervous about his proximity to the female of the species, asks his mentor Jimmy, "Are we supposed to like girls yet?" "Oh, no, oh, no," insists the bright lad, telling his friend what he wants to hear, but then tacks on the advisory that pretty soon, as hormones start to course through their bodies, they just might. The closest this "G"-rated cartoon gets to "Not Another Teen Movie" occurs when mom and dad take a drink of soda in their kitchen and begin burping like mad, reminiscent of the hiccoughing spell of Adele Stanton in Frank Darabon's movie "The Majestic." "Better from the attic than from the basement," comments the paterfamilias which, together with a scene involving the robotic family dog's pooping nuts and bolts on the Neutron porch is the only one that could in any way threaten the most liberal of MPAA ratings.

If "Jimmy Neutron" is a disappointment it's only because we've been spoiled by the likes of "The Fellowship of the Ring" and "Monsters Inc."

Copyright 2001 Harvey Karten

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