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Laramie Movie Scope:
Inspector Gadget

A Disney movie O.K. for kids, but not adults

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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July 25, 1999 -- "Inspector Gadget" is a Disney movie that is O.K. for kids, but doesn't make the grade for adults, except for a few minor touches here and there.

One of those minor touches comes at the end of the film when the credits are rolling and we see the members of a former minion support group made up of such luminaries as Odd Job, Jaws and Tonto, it is pretty funny, but does not last long enough.

There are some funny moments during the film, such as when the voice of the Gadgetmobile (Fred Williamson of "Dusk Until Dawn") tells Inspector Gadget (Matthew Broderick of "Election") that he has to wear his seat belt because "this is a Disney movie."

Most of the humor, however, isn't that clever. Most of it is slapstick. It is probably good enough slapstick for most kids, but not inspired. And, because it is a Disney film, it is pretty harmless stuff. The attempt at romance is fairly weak as well.

Broderick plays a none-too-bright security guard with a big heart. He is in love with the pretty scientist, Brenda (Joely Fisher "The Mask," "I'll Do Anything"), who transforms him into Inspector Gadget after he is severely injured in a bomb blast while pursuing The Claw (Rupert Everett). The Claw has killed Brenda's father, also a scientist, and stolen various Gadget secrets.

One of the few characters in the movie with any intelligence is Inspector Gadget's daughter, Penny (Michelle Trachtenberg), who, along with a cute little dog, helps to solve the case. Most of the characters are of the bumbling variety. The special effects are fun, with all sorts of springs, and wires and goo appearing throughout the film. In all, it is certainly a well-intentioned film that is mildly amusing for adults and has decent special effects. It rates a C.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 1999 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]