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On Monday, June 23, I convinced about sixteen of my fellow CitySearchers to join me in reviewing "Batman and Robin" at the local googolplex. The rationale was that I'm tired of having to see all these mainstream thrillers by myself, and wanted to spread the pain around as much as possible. It would also give the non-writers in the company a chance to be creative, so I told them to be effusive and merciless in their reviews.
And merciless they were. So uniform was the mob mentality at this particular event, that I decided to edit all of their reviews together into one big, bubbling vat of criticism. What follows is a conglomeration of CitySearch's opinion, footnoted for proper credit.
Despite my very low standards, and 45 minutes of chanting the "I really won't mind if it's bad" mantra, I somehow still managed to over-estimate this film.(1) I went in with low expectations after hearing all the negative reviews, so I was prepared for the worst. Unbelievable, it disappointed me more than I expected. (2) It was so loud and imposing, I never felt comfortable in my very cushy seat.(3) This movie is a great big loud comic book with one really big drawback, you can't put in down in the middle, make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and then come back to finish it.(4)
The only decent performance was turned in by Uma Thurman, and even THAT'S generous.(5) Uma ("yowsa") is the only redeeming feature of this poorly written piece of trash.(6) George Clooney as Batman just didn't do it for me. Even after all the ER glory, to me he's still the guy who delivers Mrs. Garrett's groceries on "The Facts of Life."(7) Clooney was his character on ER, looking down and around, all grin and shaky head; he tries for a mix of Michael Keaton's tormented hero and Adam West's dim-brained nice guy. Instead, he came off as a shallow musclehead.(5 and 8) Even Elle MacPherson's pink dress, Uma Thurman's green tights, and Alicia Silverstone's rubber corset couldn't quite pull this one out of the guano vat for me. Though I did like Arnold's make-up. Go figure.(1)
They would've been better off splashing the 'KA-POWs' across the screen whenever the Bat Trio got a good lick in.(6) I have to say I prefer the POW and BLAMMO of the old days.(3) Even the touching emotional scenes (Albert on his deathbed, Bruce learning to trust, etc.) just looked too ridiculous mixed in with the corny, comic book lines.(9)
Instead of just showing off his villain's powers by doing something, director Joel Schumacher apparently thought he had to explain them, too. Uma Thurman's Poison Ivy couldn't just kiss her creator with her poisoned lips, she had to explain it in plot-skidding-to-a-halt detail. George Clooney's Batman couldn't simply care about Alfred, it had to be illustrated in "Wonder Years"-with-a-butler flashbacks.(8)
Although a climatic good versus evil clash is expected in the final reels, I couldn't predict how all these new characters were going to line up in it. The prospect of an unpredictable scenario held my attention, but it seemed like Schumacher had a check list of marketing "musts" of what they thought 12 year olds really wanted see, then plowed through the list as fast and superficially as possible.(10 and 5) In a word, this movie is bad. In two words, it's really bad.(6)
Picture some Jolly Ranchers. Okay, now picture them glowing from the inside like those light sticks they sell at outdoor concerts. Now, picture being force-fed glowing Jolly Ranchers for two and a half hours. And finally, picture being pummeled by heavy sandbags while being force-fed glowing Jolly Ranchers for two and a half hours. Now throw in some horrible ice and plant-related puns, and you've just imagined Batman and Robin, and saved yourself seven bucks.(11) Overall a lot of people are in for a big surprise when they see this film. Still, regardless of how bad the movie was, IT'S STILL ALLGOOD, O.K.? (12)
(1) Jay Saltzman—Business Technology Manager from San Francisco, California. (I'm told that if I find out what "Business Technology Manager" means, I'm supposed to tell him).
(2) Chad Merrell—Southern-fried Database Administrator from Fork Township(?), NC
(3) Andrea Young—our elegant Shops and Services editor from Washington, D.C.
(4) Ben Ousley—photog extraodinaire from 12 miles east of Nowhere (Lawndale, NC)
(5) Matt Lotspeich—all-work and all-play Internet Sales Trainer from Boston
(6) Ron Johnson—home-grown Chapel Hillian and Systems Analyst
(7) Emma Greenwood—short but occasionally quite feisty freelancer from beautiful Charlotte, NC
(8) Alan Benson—pungently sarcastic Music/Nightlife/Kids/Family/Cybercity Managing Editor from Greensboro, NC
(9) Lamar Rutherford—intrepid Vice President of Marketing for CitySearch, from Somewhere in California
(10) Lawrence Lucier—our surreally beloved Photo Coordinator from Leesburg, VA
(11) Jerry Salley—our Art/History/Education/Sports/Fitness associate editor, who, strangely enough, has the office's best taste in music
(12) Markus Mims—Communications person and Human Prozac Replacement for CitySearch NC
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