By: Henry J. Fromage (Four Beers) –
One feels inclined to spend the next several months of their life relentlessly hunting and slapping down studio executives upon hearing a title like Gnomeo and Juliet.So, Romeo and Juliet with garden gnomes… ok, I can get on board with that, I guess, but could we have just put a little more effort in to the title?
Google image search, you’re a sexist bastard
So, on with the review.This one note idea wasn’t without potential.Pixar mogul John Lasseter was apparently betting on it judging by some shushed commentary on the Toy Story 2 DVD, but ultimately passed on it in 2006.It apparently went through several studies and nine credited writers before finally making it to the screen.Given that, it’s a miracle it is as coherent as it is.
Gnomeo and Juliet is certainly well-intentioned, and it appears that the impressive vocal cast, including every British person from Michael Caine to Ozzy Osbourne and even Jason Statham, has a lot of fun.The litany of wry Shakespeare references, like the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern moving van, and the manic, vaguely Cuban flamingo Featherstone, do provide some chuckles.However, the real star is the Terrafirminator lawn mower commercial.They completely rip off Powerthirst commercials, but I’m of the opinion that there can never be too much of this:
What you can have enough of, and quickly, are the bad puns.Little jewels like “Let’s kick some grass” litter the film, and most of the non-punny writing is little better, relying on zero-imagination lines like “Nice junk in the trunk!”I really, really don’t recommend turning this into a drinking game.
There is one character with absolutely no redemptive value in the film, and that is Nanette, a loud, consistently unfunny, and inexplicably Scottish frog.She is pretty much the Craig Ferguson of lawn ornaments.
This toast made me think about tacking on a few more out of spite.Much has been made about using the obligatory dance party to wrap things up, and this is one of the least inspired examples of it I’ve ever seen.
What really annoys me about it is the insistence on smoothing over every single bittersweet moment from the rest of the film.Our flamingo gets a new flamingo companion, dead characters are resurrected, and zero life lessons are learned.There’s a reason why Pixar and old-school Disney will always dominate animation, and it’s that they avoid this bullshit like the plague.
I could, and you might, tack on a beer more for the uninspired Elton John-infused score or some eye-rolling innuendos.Still, it does have a bit of heart, however lifted from Pixar, and there’s enough novelty and smiles to be worth a look.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a drink: for every Shakespeare reference
Take a drink: every time the Terrafirminator or another lawn mower is shown
Drink a shot: Dance Party!