Reel Rating: 2 out of 5 Reels
MPAA Rating: PG for some thematic elements, scary images, action and mild language.
Released in Theaters: Sept. 19, 2008
Genre: Action Adventure, Animated, Family
Runtime: 87 minutes
Directed by: Anthony Leondis
Cast: John Cusack, John Cleese, Molly Shannon, Eddie Izzard, Jennifer Coolidge, Sean Hayes, Steve Buscemi
Sex/ Nudity: A provocative woman flirts with evil scientists; two characters fall in love.
Violence/Gore: Igor gets pushed, shoved, and slapped around. A suicidal rabbit attempts to and succeeds in seriously injuring himself. An evil scientist is crushed. Another dies in an explosion.
Profanity: Mild insults, including “idiot,” “stupid,” and “failure.”
Which Kids Will Like It? Kids 6 and older who like colorful movies with lots of action.
Will Parents Like It? It’s iffy. There’s way too much violence for a kid-themed movie, including a seriously maniacal version of “Tomorrow,” from the Broadway musical “Annie.” That scene might scare little ones. But overall, the message is good: that we can all choose whether to be good or evil.
Review: It’s a good thing John Cusack voiced the main character in this movie, because that kept it from being totally boring and unoriginal. OK, it’s also bright and colorful and boasts a great soundtrack. But it seemed like they were trying for a Tim Burton-type film, but it didn’t really work. I think because it lacks Tim Burton and Johnny Depp (though Cusack is a worthy opponent).
Cusack lends his voice to Igor, the good-hearted, hunch-backed assistant to mad scientist Dr. Glickenstein (John Cleese). When the doc expires while working on his invention for the annual Evil Science Fair, Igor happily takes over with his own experiments — namely, creating a female giant named Eva (Molly Shannon) who’s supposed to be evil, but is kind-hearted and good with orphans.
No, no, no! says Igor. She’s supposed to be evil! So he takes her in for a brain-washing a la Clockwork Orange, but she’s mistakenly shown a video of host James Lipton on Inside the Actor’s Studio, and ends up thinking she’s a famous actress.
Igor’s goal is to create a creature menacing enough to foil whatever the evil Dr. Schadenfreude (Eddie Izzard) comes up with, helped by his girlfriend/assistant Jaclyn (Jennifer Coolidge). But it all goes wrong when Igor starts to fall for his creation.
With screenwriter Chris McKenna (Fox’s American Dad!) and supporting cast Steve Buscemi, who plays Scamper a suicidal rabbit, and Sean Hayes, who plays Brain, a brain who’s a little short on brains, you’d think this would be a better film. Director Anthony Leondis doesn’t have many directing credits (mainly, Lilo & Stitch 2), so maybe that’s part of it.
Igor is bright and colorful, has a great soundtrack (everything from retro swing to R&B), and offers a message for kids (you can choose not to be evil). But the dialogue is bland, nudging only a few laughs out of the audience where I saw it, and the storyline boring and somewhat unoriginal.
There are also some scary scenes, like when Eva sings a maniacal version of Annie’s “Tomorrow,” and when the characters get kicked and slapped around. I didn’t have kids with me, but those scenes made me cringe.
Seems like Igor would have worked better as a short at a film festival.
Jane Boursaw is a family entertainment writer specializing in movies and TV. Visit her at Reel Life With Jane; follow her on Twitter; become a friend on Facebook; email email@example.com.