In the 1960s and 1970s, there was something known as the kiddie matinee: Parents would drop their brood off at a movie theater showing a double/triple feature of children’s films, often live-action Disney dreck or horrifying, poorly dubbed foreign fairy-tale movies. The era of parents leaving children alone at theaters is long past, which means today’s responsible adults will indeed have to stick around to watch the live-action The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure. It’s the latest from Teletubbies distributor Kenn Viselman, described in the film’s promo material as a “marketing maverick.” Sure, why not? The maverick’s new film is “interactive,” encouraging the kids in the audience to get up and dance and shout roughly 8 zillion different times. Making it somewhat palatable for those over the age of consent is the parade of recognizable stars each knocking out a song, including a scenery-devouring Cary Elwes doing what appears to be his best impression of In Living Color–era Jim Carrey, and a comparatively underplaying Toni Braxton performing a sultry, slinky ballad about sneezing and coughing, a sequence that actually borders on a kind of warped genius. And if today’s youngsters grow up thinking of Christopher Lloyd as the old guy with the bongos from The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure, at least they’ll be thinking of Christopher Lloyd at all.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 29, 2012