The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle
** BM
Starring: Robert De Niro, Jason Alexander, Rene Russo, Piper Perabo, Jonathan Winters, John Goodman, Janeane Garofalo


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There was really no need for this film to be made. I remember back when I heard that it was in production, I foolishly harbored thoughts that it might be really well done, especially since Robert De Niro was involved. But, really, there's no point here. Just about any 'revival' of a dormant creative property into a film tends to be iffy at best, with a lot of people automatically expecting it to be lame, and you can't go into a Rocky and Bullwinkle story feeling cynical.

Part of the problem is that the funny, cornball puns and goofy parts of the cartoon, when translated to live-action, tend to feel like the latest crap-ass Leslie Nielsen movie and, as such, you're more inclined to groan and be annoyed at them rather than find them amusing. The live-action theme just seems like an excuse for De Niro, Jason Alexander and Rene Russo to do impressions of cool cartoon characters. I'm a big Boris Badenov fan, so I went in expecting Alexander to botch it up royally. He did a decent enough job, though. It's just that, as is usually the case, cartoons are cooler when they're left to be cartoons. If a Rocky and Bullwinkle movie needed to be made, it should have been animated and they should hang out in Frostbite Falls, where self-referential stuff might be amusing, as opposed to shoving them into "modern-day life" and watch as they cluelessy interact with current culture and complain about being 'stuck in reruns.' I may be mistaken, but I'm pretty sure that's all been done. Even Jonathan Winters in three different roles couldn't really save it.

They tried, though. There were a lot of moments of ridiculous coincidences and bad wordplay that smacked of the cartoon's take-nothing-seriously approach, but for some reason or another they just aren't funny here... and it's probably Leslie Nielsen's fault, actually - or, rather, whoever keeps greenlighting butt-trumpets like "Wrongfully Accused" and "Spy Hard." This just feels like a 'look what special effects can do now! We can make live-action cartoons!' movie, and it just ain't gonna fly, chester. Especially if you play a hip-hop song over the credits instead of the groovy weird kinda credits that the old cartoon had. Nobody likes rap songs about movies... except maybe "Are You Ready For Freddy" by The Fat Boys... and I liked that "Turtle Power" song by Partners in Kryme... and I suppose people enjoyed that "Men In Black" thing... and "Wild Wild West" was more popular than the movie it was made for... but really, no one needs a rap song about Rocky and Bullwinkle, unless LL Cool J's rhyme ain't done yet.

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