Some concepts seem patently hopeless from the beginning, a
live-action version of MR. MAGOO being a prime example. The cartoon
figure Mr. Magoo, the bumbling blind man, can be quite funny, but only
in small doses and only within the confines of animated images.
If you think NAKED GUN star Leslie Nielsen is a dubious choice to
play the role of the short guy who runs into walls, you are right, but
there is an even more astonishing selection. For a director they
tapped Hong Kong's Stanley Tong, whose resume consists mainly of a
handful of movies featuring martial arts expert Jackie Chan.
The story, such that there is one, is about a large, stolen ruby,
which looks a Woolworth reject. Mr. Magoo gets it and, of course, does
not realize he has it. Mayhem then ensues as the bad and the good guys
chase each other with Mr. Magoo frequently oblivious to the fact that
anyone is being chased.
Like HOME ALONE 3 but without any class, MR. MAGOO can only be
described as painfully bad. Fifteen minutes of it feels like an
eternity. The movie's humor is pathetically lame, and the pacing is
When one is stuck in a theater for an hour and a half watching
what claims to be a motion picture, one looks for some solace. MR.
MAGOO provides only three such moments.
The movie begins and ends with the classic cartoon version of the
character, who exudes his usual charm. The only other saving grave in
the movie itself is Angus, the sweet little bulldog. Angus
demonstrates more genuine emotions and a wider acting range than any of
the humans in the picture. Finally, the ending credits contain
outtakes of the movie, which have some of the genuineness and
spontaneity that the movie badly lacked.
Rather than attempt to adapt Mr. Magoo to a non-cartoon movie,
Nielsen makes the strategic mistake of trying to literally be a human
version of the cartoon. He has trouble sustaining the squinting eyes
and the affected voice, and even when he does it comes off as awkwardly
Copyright © 1997 Steve Rhodes