Saturday, June 26, 2010

Kazaam (1996)

Starring: Shaquille O'Neal, Francis Capra, Ally Walker
Directed by Paul Michael Glaser

"Kazaam" is a film about a genie (basketball star Shaquille O'Neal) who must grant three wishes to Max (Francis Capra), a troubled young boy who is hoping to connect with his estranged father (James Acheson).

This movie really annoyed me. The kid is a little brat who spends most of his time on screen acting like a smart-ass and antagonizing everyone he comes across, including the audience. He also tries to establish a relationship with his father, who is involved in organized crime and yet Max still feels he is a viable alternative to his mother (Ally Walker) and his would-be step-father (John Costelloe), who are not that bad. Did I mention he is also stupid? As for Shaq...well...let's just say he is better on the court (well, in his prime anyway) than onscreen. His performance comes off as silly and awkward, though to be fair he does seem to have fun in the role. The two characters do not get along well during any point of the film with the exception of the end (which is kind of required) and in the middle when they engage in a god-awful rap duet, which is one of unfortunately many dumb scenes throughout the picture.

The worst part about this movie, even more from the performances, is that it does not really make sense. It is supposedly aimed at kids but it spends a lot of time focused on a bunch of criminals and people hanging around clubs. Were the filmmakers trying to bring in Shaq's older fans? I am not sure but whatever they were trying to do, they failed. It is a little odd to be putting that in a film that also features the basketball player riding around on a magical bicycle and making junk food fall down from the sky. As a result, it makes you lose focus on the plot and gives you less reason to about what happens next. It is not helped by a number of plot holes. I will not mention all of them, but here is one example: a stereotypical Middle-Eastern crime lord (Philip Santella) knows all about Kaazam's powers and limitations despite having very the little knowledge about him. Maybe he knows about genies based upon what he learned in his homeland, but we will never know.

Well, there is nothing else I can really say except...the film sucks and I do not recommend it.