Directed by Peter Hewitt. Starring Tim Allen, Courteney Cox, Chevy Chase, Spencer Breslin, Kevin Zegers, Kate Mara, Michael Cassidy, Ryan Newman, Rip Torn. (2006, PG, 89 min.)
REVIEWED By Toddy Burton, Fri., Aug. 18, 2006
When musical cues are necessary to punctuate jokes, you can pretty much settle in to the fact that the movie you're watching just isn't funny. Musical cues abound in this weak attempt at a superhero comedy. We've been handed the superhero tale in so very many incarnations, and the creators of Zoom are well aware of them all, as they throw nearly every variation into the pot: You have a world where random people are born with superpowers and frequently considered freaks (X-Men), a washed-up superhero well past his prime (The Incredibles), and a school that trains superheroes (Sky High). Probably because the elements of Zoom rest on the shoulders of so many previously told stories, the film offers absolutely no plot surprises. The tale follows Jack Shephard, a washed-up superhero with a complex past rapidly mapped out in one of the rare fun sequences in the movie: the opening credits. When Jack gets pulled out of retirement, his job is to train four fledgling superheroes (Breslin, Cassidy, Mara, and Newman) for an impending attack by former good guy turned bad (Zegers). If you're expecting something on par with the genuine hilarity of Allen's previous sci-fi farce, Galaxy Quest, think again. This comedy drags its feet, while the sappy sweetness will make you wince. Additionally, the screenwriters seemed to have used a book of sci-fi phrases to pepper their story with such gems as "gamma rays" and "megavortex," without any explanation or attempt at coherence. After watching Zoom, I can't help but wonder if perhaps the entire cast and crew were imbibing some sort of collective narcotic that dulled the senses, inducing incessant euphoria and a total absence of discernment. No doubt this is a better choice for the kiddie set than say, Miami Vice, but it won't entertain the parents. Additionally, I couldn't help but be saddened watching Chase run around like a complete idiot. Remember Caddyshack? It makes me wince to see how far he's fallen. Perhaps we can still hope he'll find his Rushmore. Though, after this particular filmgoing experience, I won't hold my breath.