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Rated PG; running time of 99 minutes
Written by: David Berenbaum
Directed by: Rob Minkoff
Cast: Eddie Murphy, Terence Stamp, Nathaniel Parker, Marsha Thomason, Jennifer Tilly, Wallace Shawn, Dina Waters, Marc John Jefferies, Aree Davis
WARNING - SPOILERS BELOW.
Even though Jim and Sara Evers (Eddie Murphy and Marsha Thomason) own a real estate agency together, they never seem to see each other because Jim is a workaholic. He is constantly postponing activities with their children Michael and Megan (Marc John Jefferies and Aree Davis) including their birthday parties -all in the name of closing the deal. After missing an anniversary dinner, Sara puts her foot down and Jim agrees to spend the weekend just with the family. No business what so ever except to look at one little house which is on the way to their getaway. He promises that is will only take 20 minutes.
Once they get there, they discover that it dilapidated and run-down mansion that is a few centuries old. They are greeted by the butler Ramsley (Terrence Stamp) who is more than a little angry that the entire Evers family came when he really only wanted to see Sara.
We find out why when the man of the house, Master Gracey (Nathaniel Parker) makes an appearance. He seems to think that Sara is his long lost love, Elizabeth. He means to get rid of her family and reclaim his love, but he doesn't count on the love the Evers family has for each other.
With the help of a gypsy in a crystal ball, the family searches for the clues to save Sara, as well as, lift the curse from the mansion.
As I sat there blinking as the credits rolled, I realized that I was blinking because I was speechless and I was speechless because I was pretty sure that I had just witnessed one of the worst movies in 2003. I mean the worst. You know a movie is bad when you don't even notice that you are writing up your grocery list - in the dark- instead of taking notes.
With the exception of Jennifer Tilly and the singing busts (not busts as in boobs, but busts as in cement heads), every single living soul (no pun intended) in this movie was just terrible. Painfully bad. And you know that I do NOT like to criticize children, but even the acting turned in by the children left a lot to be desired. I know with practice they will do very well in the future. They rest of the cast has no excuse. There are far too many years of experience between all of them for them to have turned in such uninspired and lackluster performances. Could it be the fault of the Director? Based on some of the lines that were read, some of the fault lies with the writer. Personally I think the blame should be spread equally amongst everyone - from the Casting Director to the Special Effects Director. Yes, even the special effects were bad.
While the nine-year-old sitting next to me had a blast, I'm thinking he was the exception to the rule. My suggestion is to wait until it comes on cable and then watch it with kids 8 and up.
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Copyright Kamal "The Diva" Larsuel-Ulbricht, 2003