Making the Grades
Leslie Nielsen plays the nearsighted 60's cartoon character Mr. Magoo in this farsighted attempt by Disney to once again bring the world of animation into reality. In the film, the wealthy Magoo is a benefactor of a museum where a huge ruby is being unveiled. After the reception, Magoo manages to get himself locked in an Egyptian sarcophagus that he mistakes for a phone booth. By the time he gets out, two thieves have stolen the Ruby, and Magoo is the prime suspect.
What this film is best known for, is the outrage it generated from visually impaired groups who felt the script was generating comedy at the expense of those with sight problems. Relax people. Generating comedy is the one thing this movie isn't guilty of. As a person who can't write this review without glasses, I can safely say that the carefully worded disclaimer encouraging audiences to recognize that people with vision problems can even "raise families," was the funniest thing between the opening and closing credits. The rest is pure mental torture.
The reason for parents not to rent Magoo is it's just plain bad, but for those still considering this title, they will find a few concerns. Fortunately the typical slapstick violence is muted with the 71-year-old Nielsen performing his own stunts, but some sequences do involve criminals with guns. There are a couple of mild sexual innuendos and one scene with a room full of bikini clad women -- probably a last ditch attempt to recapture audience interest.
Possibly the film's biggest downfall is that it's directed by Stanley Tong. If that name doesn't ring a bell, try checking the credits of a Jackie Chan movie. Tong has directed many martial arts movies including Chan's Rumble In The Bronx and First Strike. This mismatch of director and genre sounds like a dating service nightmare, and leaves me wondering who was throwing the darts in the Disney boardroom when they picked the movie's cast and creators. Definitely a bad situation of the blind leading the blind.