Starring: James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Ashley Jensen, Michael Caine, Matt Lucas, Patrick Stewart, Jason Statham, Stephen Merchant, Hulk Hogan and more
Directed by: Kelly Asbury Screenplay: Kelly Asbury, Mark Burton, and more. Music by: Chris Bacon, James Newton Howard and Elton John
Premise: A modern retelling of Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet, except with lawn gnomes. And a happier ending. :)
Review: First off, this movie was totally CUTE! The unusual venue for the premise was adorable. And right off they tell you upfront it's a retelling of Shakespeare's play and almost immediately deviate from it for fun. (The 'play' begins on stage and at the end the cast does a rather unusual presentation of the characters as they would in live theater.)
There are a lot of little details when you get first shown the scene of where the play will enact itself. The 2B or not 2B was hilarious and sneaky. Many lines are quoted or should I better say misquoted, on purpose even, although they give you a little jolt of recognition all the same, which was a lot of fun. (Needless to say there's a lot in this movie directed at the adults more than the kids.) Even William Shakespeare makes an appearance! I thought the film even had a touch of West Side Story running through it as well (lawnmower racing, booyah!).
I didn't realize Elton John's deep involvement with the film until the credits. Not only was his music seeded through out, he was also an executive producer. Several visual jokes are also centered around the singer and were adorable. (Again extra bits that will mean more to the parents than the kids. But there's plenty there for the younger viewers as well.
Several minor characters make the film (though Juliet's ninja sequence had me totally falling in love with her!). Nanette, the pond frog, as Juliet's confidant, was a total hoot and added a lot of flavor. Paris, the pink flamingo, I also enjoyed very much. The tiny red hat gnomes and the super commando bunnies were hilarious. And Spot, the ceramic mushroom/dog was also very cute. Alas, the sad plight of the little red fish will have you feeling sorry for him through the whole thing. lol.
One of the best spots in the film is an infomercial, of all things! The Terrafirminator ad was awesome! (I love the page and a half of disclaimers for the thing - including not being meant for residential use. ROFL!)
One little detail that so made the movie for me was the added clinking sounds of pottery as the gnomes moved about. Firmed their reality in a strange way. So kudos for that lovely touch.
Overall there aren't many surprises, but the presentation was adorable and many of the side characters totally endearing. All the voice actors were excellent and with the added talent of the artists, you can totally immerse yourself in this little tale set in Verona Lane.
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby is on the fence between Full Matinee Price and Better on Cable)