newmans_own's Movie Review of Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium

Rating of

Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium

Uninvolving and unoriginal
newmans_own - wrote on 11/17/07

Well, it’s been predicted that consumers may not be spending as much this holiday season. Not if MR. MAGORIUM’S WONDER EMPORIUM has anything to do with it. One of the most noticeable things about the film is its sheer amount of product placement in the titular toy store. There’s everything from Curious George books to Duplo blocks to Lego logs and everything in between. Unfortunately, the fact that these images are so present and memorable after the film indicates there is not much else worth remembering about it. And it’s true; aside from an annoyingly catching title and a few recognizable items, MR. MAGORIUM’S WONDER EMPORIUM is a mess of wannabe originality that seems all too familiar.

This is most evident, however, in Hoffman’s performance as the titular character. Mr. Magorium is probably what Hoffman would have done were he ever cast as Willy Wonka; basically, the same as Gene Wilder but with a lisp. He’s quirky with a capital “Q”. (He’s an avid shoe collector! He has a pet zebra! Look at those crazy eyebrows!) His unusual remarks are also of the clichéd, anything-can-happen-if-you-believe type. While it is nice to get affirming statements once in a while, one prefers a little variety.

Of course, the film is intended mainly for children, so my jaded and cynical view on life would be ill-suited to it, right? Not necessarily. The film’s insistence on trying to shape a dramatic relationship around Magorium and Mahoney is rather heavy-handed, albeit in an inspirational way. Still, the lack of action throughout much of the film will have youngsters squirming in their seats. Moments of pure excitement are few and far between and everything in between is barely involving for adults, let alone children.


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