March 24, 2007 | Comments ()

By Agent Bedhead | Film | March 24, 2007 |


Ever since first hearing about The Last Mimzy, I’ve wondered what the hell a mimzy was, and I am now pleased to inform you that Mimzy is a proper noun that refers to a stuffed rabbit. However, Mimzy is no ordinary stuffed rabbit; this rabbit comes from a special man-made breed of toys sent to earth from the future to help save mankind from itself. Yeah, I know it sounds preposterous, but the film borrows its foundation from a Lewis Padgett short story. So, we shouldn’t be too surprised that behind this children’s film lurks a director enjoying his own obligatory trip down the rabbit hole.

As co-founder and co-CEO of New Line Cinema, all Robert Shaye really wanted to do was direct. In The Last Mimzy, we receive the brunt of Shaye’s creative frustrations following his decades at the helm of a monolith responsible for the Austin Powers and The Lord of the Rings trilogies and the lecture-by-fantasy singleton, Pleasantville, which now functions as the hipper and infinitely more fuckable aunt to The Last Mimzy. Not content to offer mere mimsical pleasure to his audience, Shaye has stuffed this damn rabbit so full of allusions — E.T., Jabberwocky, quantum physics, and new-age philosophy — that Mimzy herself remains little but an empty vessel.

Mimzy and the rest of the box of creepy toys make their grand entrance by way of a discovery by Noah (Chris O’Neil) and Emma (Rhiannon Leigh Wryn), two Seattle children with very affluent parents. The kids are on spring break at their beach house when they make the find, and Mom thinks little of it beyond a slight relief that she won’t have to entertain the two children day and night all by her lonesome. Meanwhile, Noah and Emma start to witness odd things that would scare most children out of their wits, but not these two troopers, who don’t seem to have inherited the freak-out gene from their reasonable parents. Indeed, Noah isn’t at all spooked by his sudden preternatural hearing and spends hours listening to bellowing seashells and the sweet siren sound of spiders weaving their webs. Likewise, Little Emma becomes almost sociopathically inclined as she engrosses herself within telepathic conversations with Mimzy, who apparently teaches Emma about the errors of mankind and her vital role in saving humanity. Ya dig?

While the children play, Mom (Joely Richardson) ushers in the MILF vibe to keep all the strong, virile fathers in the audience interested, thereby guaranteeing that they will keep their children in the theatre when the scary crap starts happening at about 00:59. And wouldn’t you know, adorning the aisles of the screening I attended were several of these fathers, standing open-mouthed with tugging children at their waist, most of whom wanted to leave at the one-hour mark. Emma and Noah’s late-working, too-oft-absorbed lawyer Dad (Timothy Hutton) is obviously intended as the underrated DILF counterpart for the audience mothers, but it’s hard not to notice that Dad could use a bottle of shampoo.

Once the children return to their everyday routines apart from their mimzical spring break, the weird stuff gets progressively weirder. Noah suddenly becomes a mathematical and scientific genius and uses his newfound obsession with spider webs to create the creepiest science project ever. His awestruck parents don’t know what to say except to smugly acknowledge that this sudden attack of genius isn’t that bizarre because, after all, he’s the progeny of superior parents. Famous last words, them be.

Noah’s absentminded classroom scribbles are picked up by Larry the science teacher (Rainn Wilson of “The Office”), who takes them home for interpretation by Naomi the New-Age Girlfriend (Kathryn Hahn). Larry and Naomi decide to tell MILF Mom that her son has been drawing rare and intricate Mandalas that symbolize the universe. When MILF Mom calls bullshit, Larry says, “This is so far out of my league,” an utterance that personifies the director’s struggle in the midst of this thematic mess. At this moment, Larry channels Lewis Carroll’s famous sentiment, “Somehow [‘Jabberwocky’] seems to fill my head with ideas — only I don’t exactly know what they are.”

Oh, and apparently, Mimzy is on a tight schedule too, so the pace speeds up and things go terribly wrong when Emma decides to show the babysitter a few magic tricks that Mimzy taught her. Babysitter runs screaming out the front door when Emma proceeds to grin madly while casually levitating a few toys and atomizing her own hand. Then Mimzy and her little toy-generator friend accidentally cause a blackout of the greater Seattle area, and the Department of Homeland Security freaks out, which sounds like a perfect reason to bring Michael Clark Duncan into the movie. Once hair-gel Dad has finally accepted that he is needed at home and takes time off from The Firm, the family rejoices in their togetherness. Then the FBI bursts in the front door and accuses the family of a terrorist plot.

Before the film ends, the Mimzian masterminding of the universe also involves a few requisite product endorsements. A can of Sprite endures some old-fashioned levitation goodness that ends with the predictable money shot of fizz. Even more shameless is the FBI’s discovery of what lies beneath Mimzy’s fuzzily innocent exterior. The all-too-convenient plot resolution of this film hastily ties together far too many cinematic ambitions for a 90-minute run. Viewers are then treated to a trippy jaunt into the future that will only exist thanks to Mimzy, Emma, and Noah. This sequence clearly belongs in Pink Floyd’s The Wall, not a children’s movie, demonstrating that this flick isn’t suitable for smaller children — but the more jaded elementary schoolers should handle it with style.

Agent Bedhead lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma and tries to avoid reality at all costs. She also insults pop culture daily at agentbedhead.com.

mimzy.jpg
MILFs R' Us

The Last Mimzy / Agent Bedhead

Film | March 24, 2007 | Comments ()



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