Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events

"Weak"

Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events Review


(Proofread pending)

Jim Carrey makes a four-course meal of the Tim-Burtonesque surreal scenery in "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events," completely overshadowing the story that is supposed to be about three crafty young orphans stuck in a cycle of lethal luck with a string of eccentric guardians.

As the inheritance-coveting Count Olaf, who is first to mind them (and virtually enslave them) after their parents die in a mysterious mansion fire, Carrey camps and vamps, huffs and puffs, cackles and clowns, sucking up all the air in the room and doing everything short of screaming "look at me, look at me!" Made up as a storybook villain, with a ski-jump nose, a theatrically receding hairline and a wardrobe that seems to mix Edwardian-inspired hand-me-downs from Elton John and Lenny Kravitz, his plan is to get rich by having the children fall victim to some terrible "accident" -- as when he leaves them locked in a car parked on the tracks at a train crossing in the countryside.

The fact that these kids -- budding inventor Violet Beaudelaire (talented 15-year-old Emily Browning), her voracious-reader brother Klaus (sweet, sad-eyed Liam Aiken) and their toothing-on-anything baby sister Sunny -- continually outwit Olaf is the source of delight in the popular series of darkly humorous kids' books on which this movie is based. But the optimism and innovation the Beaudelaires use to keep Olaf at bay -- even as they're are handed off to subsequent guardians who keep meeting creatively calamitous ends -- are little more than an underdeveloped story conduit here. The ostensible central characters are underwritten and never given the chance to act, but only react -- and only when Carrey stops to take a breath.

The stage hog, who seems to ride roughshod over director Brad Silberling ("Moonlight Mile"), is probably in less than half the picture, but even though the scenes without him are resplendent with Gothic stylistic flourish (a fantastically rickety cliffside house propped up on precarious stilts) and sublime supporting performances (Meryl Streep is a momentary reprieve as the Beaudelaire children's irrationally but humorously phobic old-biddy third guardian), these brief episodes are merely an eye in the storm.

"It's not too late to see a film about a happy little elf," advises Lemony Snicket, the shadowy, doom-minded, mostly unseen narrator (with the voice of Jude Law), in the movie's opening scene. Not a bad idea.



Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events

Facts and Figures

Run time: 108 mins

In Theaters: Friday 17th December 2004

Box Office USA: $118.5M

Box Office Worldwide: $209.1M

Budget: $140M

Distributed by: Paramount Pictures

Production compaines: Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks Pictures, Nickelodeon Movies, Kumar Mobiliengesellschaft mbH & Co. Projekt Nr. 2 KG, Scott Rudin Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 72%
Fresh: 114 Rotten: 45

IMDB: 6.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Count Olaf, as Aunt Josephine, as Lemony Snicket (voice), as Violet Baudelaire, as Sunny, as Sunny, as Klaus, as Mr. Poe, as Justice Strauss, as Uncle Monty, as Bald man, as Hook-Handed Man, as Person of Indeterminate Gender, as White Faced Woman, as White Faced Woman, as Constable, as Grocery Clerk, as Gruff Grocer, John Dexter as Gustav, as Mrs. Poe, Fred Gallo as Judge

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.