Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle

Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle is the latest creation of Jay Ward to come to life again in the movie theaters. For the first time, Brendan Fraser is not in it (like George of the Jungle or Dudley Do-Right), which is a good initial sign. However, there was no great clamor for those remakes, and there is no great clamor for this one. What starts off promising turns around and becomes boring and overbearing. For the first time, Rocky, Bullwinkle, Fearless Leader, Boris and Natasha, are in the real world. Even a legion of cameos (Randy Quaid, John Goodman, Jonathan Winters, Kenan and Kel, Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Crystal, Janeane Garofalo, David Alan Grier, and many more) are not enough to ultimately save the movie.

Fearless Leader (Robert De Niro, Analyze This, Flawless), Boris Badenov (Jason Alexander, North, The Hunchback of Notre Dame), and Natasha Fatale (Rene Russo, The Thomas Crown Affair, Lethal Weapon 4) make it into the real world and scheme to take it over. The three will use RBTV (really bad television) to hypnotize America into a stupor, thereby rendering them open to suggestion. Fearless Leader will then tell them to vote him as President. The FBI sends Agent Karen Sympathy ("it" girl-of-the-moment Piper Perabo, Coyote Ugly, White Boys) to find Rocky and Bullwinkle in order to stop their foes. Sympathy finds them and brings them here, but only as cartoons. Sympathy, Rocky, and Bullwinkle must race across the country to stop Fearless Leader from airing RBTV while Boris and Natasha chase after them.

Screenwriter Kenneth Longeran (Analyze This) does have the entire concept down well. Bullwinkle (voiced by Keith Scott, who also voices the Narrator) and Rocky (voiced by June Foray, the original voice of Rocky) remain true to their old cartoon ways. Bullwinkle puns mercilessly, and some of them are extremely funny. The film is replete with sight gags (the best being the hospital "J" Ward) and verbal interplay between the Narrator and characters, but the actual number of times these gags are funny falls as the movie progresses. Some of the better one-liners come from the cameos, especially John Goodman and Kenan and Kel's last comments. However Longeran's explanation of what all the characters were doing since the cancellation of their series is funny.

Director Des McAnuff (Cousin Bette) has the unfortunate duty of directing people acting with cartoons. Most of the time, the acting is just embarrassing. Alexander and Russo are bad, but De Niro should be ashamed of himself. He is also producer on Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, and one wonders why he made this in the first place. Fearless Leader, Boris, and Natasha are the most exasperating parts of the entire movie. Perabo is much better. Although she seems to have her brow furrowed for almost the extent of the movie, she has fun with her role, injecting lots of vitality into Karen Sympathy. The scenes where she needs to touch hug or shake hands with Rocky or Bullwinkle are the most awkward. The sad thing is, by the midway point of the movie, no one really cares if Rocky and Bullwinkle save America. It seems that the audience is in the grips of a movie version of RBTV.

Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 28 minutes, Rated PG for brief mild language.

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