Movie Review

Don't look for originality in 'Zoom'

The Associated PressAugust 11, 2006 

Tim Allen stars in "Zoom," a family friendly comedy about a superhero who's been drained of all his powers.

The movie itself apparently was made by people drained of all their creativity. It has plenty of energy and visual effects but not a single original idea in its spandex-clad head.

Directed by Peter Hewitt ("Garfield: The Movie," "Thunderpants") and written by Adam Rifkin and David Berenbaum, "Zoom" is among the countless movies this year that weren't shown to critics before opening day (likely for fear of deserved negative reviews like this one).

Allen's Captain Zoom (civilian name: Jack Shepard) is trying to live a normal life but must return to the saving-the-world game, like the characters in the vastly superior, Oscar-winning animated movie "The Incredibles."

He's asked to teach what he knows to a bunch of misfit kids with unwanted powers (strength, invisibility, telepathy, etc.) which, um, sounds exactly like the "X-Men" premise.

And the lessons and mishaps take place in a colorful, gadget-heavy, scientific world hidden within the desert, similar to the "Spy Kids" movies.

Allen plays the role with a smart-alecky cynicism that at times makes the material unexpectedly palatable. Once at the height of his abilities and part of an all-star team, Zoom was reduced to nothing after the military exposed him to gamma radiation that was supposed to have made him even faster than he was.

Meanwhile, the radiation made his brother (nickname: Concussion) stronger and turned him evil, and Concussion's imminent return to wreak havoc is the reason Zoom must swoop down and save the day, with the help of a new team of sidekicks.

Kate Mara (Heath Ledger's daughter in "Brokeback Mountain") is completely charismatic as Summer, one of the teenage heroes-in-training who's learning to hone her telepathic abilities. Spencer Breslin, Michael Cassidy and the overly cute Ryan Newman -- as a 6-year-old girl with unbelievable strength and a fondness for pink princess costumes -- co-star as her classmates.

Courteney Cox, meanwhile, is relegated to acting twitchy and repeatedly falling on her butt (a joke that isn't even funny the first time) as a scientist at the academy.

And Allen best sums up Chevy Chase's presence as a nerdy professor -- and the movie as a whole -- when he takes one look at him and goes, "Wow, you got old."

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