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Review

‘Igor’ wastes potential, misses target audience

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September 25, 2008

I really miss the days when animated films seemed more       . It’s a shame that they’ve begun focusing more on attracting viewers with big-name talent rather than with an eye-catching style or a great story. Heck, “WALL-E” worked just fine, and the lead character’s voice was nary more than a few bleeps and blorps. “Igor” is the latest star-heavy cartoon feature, and although it has a clever story and loads of potential, they’re ruined by the endless cycle of bad puns and slapstick the flick eventually becomes.

Welcome to Malaria, a kingdom straight out of a Universal horror movie. Every night is a dark and stormy one, and the local economy consists of creating diabolical inventions with which to hold the world in fear. Behind every mechanical monster or     ray, there’s a mad scientist and an Igor, a hunchbacked assistant who does most of the work but gets none of the credit. But after his master is felled by an experiment gone awry, one particularly intelligent Igor (voiced by John Cusack) finds himself needing to devise something to present at the upcoming Evil Science Fair. Luckily, he has the perfect idea: an undead creature designed with the sole purpose of destroying everything in sight. As it turns out, though, Igor’s creation (voiced by Molly Shannon) is more interested in acting than in     izing the countryside, causing Igor to wonder whether a life of evil is worth pursuing after all.

One thing that struck me right off the bat about “Igor” was its truly bizarre sense of humor. Scenes ranging from an immortal bunny (voiced by Steve Buscemi) who’s constantly committing     , to a chorus of blind kids singing “I Can See Clearly Now,” definitely appealed to my warped side. These parts were a blast to watch and, for a while, I was having more fun with “Igor” than I ever thought I would—that is, until it remembered it was a kiddie flick. From then on, the gallows humor took a back seat to corny puns (“Kill-oseum”—ha, ha) and in no time, “Igor” began resembling little more than a bad episode of “The Addams Family.”

The film’s worst offenders, though, are its own cast members. Buscemi was a riot as the suicidal rabbit and Shannon gives a sweet turn as Igor’s creation (who pummels other evil inventions while singing a tune from “Annie,” no less), but Cusack was so-so. Sean Hayes annoyed as a motor mouthed brain in a jar and, in the film’s most gross injustice, comedy great Eddie Izzard sounded absolutely bored as a rival scientist out to topple Igor.

This is usually where I’d say that kids will enjoy “Igor” more than     s, but I’m not so sure this time. The dark comedy might go over the heads of many little ones, while their parents may find some sections of the flick a little too goofy for their own good. “Igor” is a decent enough movie that tries to please everyone but ends up pleasing no one.

MY RATING: Two stars (on the five-star scale)

A.J. Hakari is a student at UW-River Falls.