Inspector Gadget (1999)
Main cast: Rupert Everett (Scar), Matthew Broderick (Inspector Gadget and its stupid clones), Joely Fisher (Brenda), Michelle Trachtenberg (Penny)
Director: David Kellogg

I used to watch the cartoon series on Sunday mornings while babysitting my grandkids. These tykes are nuts about "Go go Gadget!". When I got my hands on the VCD and accidentally told my daughter-in-law that I have it, guess how many monsters came to my place the following night to spoil my evening. Not that I mind, but I have plans for a quiet evening of watching a rerun of What The Deaf Man Heard on cable instead. All I had was little monsters running around the house screaming "Go Gadget go! Go Gadget-helicopter!" Nice. At least they loved the show. Me, I find this show really childish.

Childish can be good. Denver The Last Dinosaur is childish but fun. Sesame Street is childish and adorable. But Inspector Gadget is really boring, I'm afraid, thanks to a pedestrian story that doesn't even try to be funny.

Ideally, Matthew Broderick should be perfect as the mechanical man Inspector Gadget. His IG is a security guard who dreams of being a policeman and impressing dear beautiful Brenda who works in the same lab as he. One day he foils nasty Scar's attempt to rob a mechanical foot from Brenda's lab (yes, amechanical foot). Brenda's father is killed and IG is horribly injured. Brenda resurrects IG as a mechanical man/robot who has an arsenal of weapons and helicopter blades and other thingamabobs up his ... uhm, everywhere. Now IG is back to stop Claw, and... yawn.

Okay, I love Matt, but his IG, while wonderfully human and not as absent-minded as the cartoon version, is horribly bland. He's not funny enough, and put his next to even more bland Brenda and I find it hard to keep awake.

In the cartoon, Penny's the life of the show. Here, Penny might as well as a tutu-wearing, dancing pugdog for all the significance she has in the script. Likewise, the dog Brain who in the cartoon rescues IG all the time is totally useless here.

And Rupert, he is a nice, wickedly funny actor but he is simply awful here. He is either acting as if he's bored out of his wits (maybe he is) or he's going way over the top. Nonetheless, he's the most fun character here. And that's not saying much.

I must admit the Godzilla-spoof scene is funny, especially considering that Matt acted in that box-office "flop". Best of all is the Japanese man screaming "This is why I left Tokyo!" At last, someone said in the open the implausibility of Tokyo getting attacked every day on TV by giant moths, dragons, and other monsters and still getting people to live there.

I also think the Minion Recovery Support Group at the end is hilarious. Now that's a genius idea! Why didn't the scriptwriters come up with more gems like this?

Oh, and I'm quite overjoyed to see Don Adams on TV again, even if in a very brief cameo. As Brain the Dog's voice. Drats.

The kids love it. I find it depressingly dull and tedious. Here's hoping it's not because I'm old. I'm waiting for The Iron Giant - hopefully, it's a much better cartoony show than IG.

Rating: 46

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