Friday, March 20, 2009

Run, Dwayne! Run!

Race to Witch Mountain

Release: 03.13.09
Rated PG-13
1 hour, 38 minutes

A Netflix Night

It's not a good time to be Jack Bruno (Dwayne Johnson, Be Cool). He's a cabbie in Vegas scratching out an honest living while the geeks arriving en masse to the UFO Expo irritate the piss out of him. To make matters worse, he's accosted by his old boss’s henchman and finds a fare, two kids, waiting in his cab. The kids, Sara (AnnaSophia Robb, Bridge to Terabithia) and Seth (Alexander Ludwig), are actually alien children who have landed on Earth to retrieve a data storage device that holds the key to saving both their world and ours. As government agents and an alien assassin track them, Bruno enlists the help of a UFO expert, Dr. Alex Friedman (Carla Gugino, Night at the Museum), to help return the kids to their ship.

Kudos to the actors, I think they all worked hard to pull off this thin story. The only things working harder than them were the two buttons on Gugino's blouse that barely held back the twins. While drooling during that brief scene, I could almost hear director Andy Fickman (She's the Man) reminding wardrobe that this is a kid-friendly film. Bring on the zip-up jacket! Gugino lights up in geeky glee and spouts astro-jargon like a pro in any attire. Johnson is charismatic, manly with just enough scruff to prove he's down on his luck. Robb excels as the empathetic alien while Ludwig delivers what I assume is a deliberately wooden performance.

Witch Mountain screws the pooch by taking the race concept to the extreme. Amazingly efficient government agents chase the kids at every turn yet repeatedly fumble the apprehension. The
uber-powered alien assassin stalks the kids through a flame-engulfed underground cavern, but the bright yellow cab on the lonely desert highway somehow eludes detection. Bruno's totally unnecessary sidestory rears its ugly head as the henchmen return to add yet another level of chase complexity to the story. It's a dizzying onslaught of explosions, crashes and fights that feels like you're in a theme-park simulator ride that doesn't move. I wanted all the flurry and bustle to stop so I could get off and vomit.

Dirty Undies
Being able to ogle Johnson and Gugino was the only thing that kept my absolute disgust and disinterest in check. Fickman did pass up a couple golden opportunities to have Dwayne go shirtless, but maybe covering up his tattoos would have been too costly. Johnson flexes his guns, throws a few good punches, and fires that winning smile. It's almost enough to make us forget how weak the film is…almost.

The Money Shot
The cool effects and whirlwind pace of Race to Witch Mountain will mesmerize kiddies high on the salty-sugar infusion of popcorn and soda. However, we more seasoned viewers will notice the plotholes are larger than the Nevada desert. Sometimes a pretty face is all it takes. This time, there needed to be a lot more.

Large Association of Movie Blogs


  1. I wish The Rock would go back to Pro Wrestling - they could use him more now than ever.

  2. @The Fraze- I haven't really watched wrestling since his reign. It's gotten that bad, huh?

    @IW- yep...