Review

Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius Review

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Dec 20, 2001 | 11:09am EST

Jimmy Neutron (voiced by Debbi Derryberry) is not only the smartest kid in school he's the smartest kid on the planet. His ingenious contraptions include an automatic bed maker a school-smell-remover called "Box" and a homemade toaster satellite that picks up extra-terrestrial transmissions. Yet all these inventions don't seem to earn him respect amongst his peers: Cindi (voiced by Carolyn Lawrence) the teacher's pet calls him a "Nerd-tron" and Nick (voiced by Candi Milo) the cool guy thinks Jimmy's a geek. His only real friends are Carl (voiced by Rob Paulsen)--whose level of intelligence is less than equal to Jimmy's and Goddard--Jimmy's robotic metal-eating nuts-and-bolts-pooping dog. Ultimately though it's Jimmy's genius that saves every kid (friend or foe) from becoming an orphan when aliens pluck every parent from their homes.

The female voice of Debbi Derryberry took charge of the squeaky-clean Jimmy Neutron character with upbeat optimism minus manly macho-ism (proving a good match for the pre-pubescent junior high animation). But the real "claim to fame" this film boasts is Martin Short (voice of the alien Ooblar) who was unfortunately a disappointment. During what little face time Ooblar has in the film he blathers ridiculously without much wit. The film's second-famous cast member is Patrick Stewart (voice of the alien King Goobot). Yet this king and captain of the parent-heisting spaceship doesn't get much face time either. He's also not a very threatening alien considering his plan to sacrifice the parents gladiator-style is easily thwarted by Jimmy's clan. Stewart seems better suited for the Enterprise anyway.

Because the film is based on a regularly featured cartoon by the same name writer Steve Oedekerk and director John Davis didn't have much room to move. Kids are familiar with the characters' temperaments and Jimmy's propensity for inventing without much setup; besides the film has its very funny moments complete with girl-eating plants and invisible running hamsters. But Davis did have room to move on how the story was told and he didn't use it. Quite honestly the direction is linear and predictable and there isn't much more in the movie that couldn't be picked up by watching the trailer. It's OK if the good guys win in the end (in this case if the kids get their parents back) but it might have been told to us in a way that would make it easier on adult brains (and bottoms) to sit through when their kids are begging to go to the theater.

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