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Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4
Dreamworks' SHARK TALE is a disappointing series of sight gags lost at sea in
search of a story. Although it has its moments, it isn't a movie that holds
your attention. You're more likely to be surprised to find yourself laughing
than waiting in anticipation for its next joke. (It's not a good sign when two
of the film's four screenwriters' only other credit is FREDDY VS. JASON.)
The basic setup for the story is that a wisecracking braggart named Oscar
(voiced by Will Smith) is a little fish who falsely claims to be a shark
slayer. Oscar's jive-talking schtick might work for a wisecracking sidekick
but quickly grows tiresome for a leading character. Oscar's manager, Sykes, is
voiced nicely by Martin Scorsese, who makes the most of his signature, unusual
voice. The story's other central character is that of Lenny (voiced by Jack
Black), who is a vegetarian shark who doesn't want to eat anyone.
When story starts, Oscar is a tongue scrubber at the Whale Wash. Sykes
explains to Oscar that he is so low on the food chain that he is below rocks
and even "whale poo." Every once in a while the movie tries on some clunky,
serious line, which falls like an anchor to the ocean floor -- "Nobody loves a
nobody. I want to be a somebody," Oscar tells his girl. From Krispy Kreme to
Coca Cola, the movie is awash in product placements, albeit with the names
changed slightly for comedic effect.
If you feel like you've seen this movie before, you have. It was called
FINDING NEMO, and it was a whole lot better. Pixar's FINDING NEMO gets better
with every viewing, but SHARK TALE is a movie which is so long in the tooth
that even one viewing already feels like a half a viewing too many.
SHARK TALE runs a long 1:31. It is rated PG for "some mild language and crude
humor" and would be acceptable for kids of all ages.
Copyright © 2004 Steve Rhodes