Jack Black make a big effort on the children's classic "Gulliver's Travels," but it wasn't big enough to make this update an entertaining one.
Black portrays Lemuel Gulliver, a Guitar Hero-playing mailroom supervisor at the New York Tribune with a huge crush on travel editor Darcy Sullivan, played by Amanda Peet.
After one embarrassing attempt to ask her out on a date, he makes a last-minute stab at it again. This time, he dupes her into letting him write a "fluff piece" on Bermuda for the publication. I'll let you guess as to what the title is.
Once in Bermuda, he is led to shoddy boat with an even shoddier navigation system. His guide tells him that the stories about the island - especially mysterious disappearances - are all a myth and not to worry.
As Gulliver drifts into the middle of nowhere, he dozes off - and wakes up to find himself about to be sucked into what seems like a massive water tornado. (He does manages to grab his iPhone, which miraculously works. I can't say the same for the movie.)
When he opens his eyes again, he finds himself tied down and surrounded by the Lilliputians, led by the cocky and obnoxious General Edward (played by Chris O'Dowd). His capture is touted as a present to Princess Mary (played by Emily Blunt), who quickly rejects it.
Gulliver is then banished to a medieval jail, where he meets Horatio (Jason Segel), the second-tallest man in the land who is jailed because of an unlawful courtship of the princess. As outcasts, they become fast friends - and are at the unfortunate beck and call of the general.
However, things change when a fire puts the king's life in danger and Gulliver manages to save the kingdom in a way that is so disgusting that you'll just have to see for yourself ... or not. However, his stream of bravery allows him to be in everyone's good graces and he brings Horatio along for the ride.
Lies are how Gulliver got to the island and it is what also propels him from outcast to leader as he brags about his feats on the "island of Manhattan." He also uses his failure with Darcy - both professionally and romantically - to help Horatio successfully woo the princess, who is also being courted by the general. As Gulliver continues to grow in popularity, General Edward continues to fume and seeks a way to get rid of the "beast."
I have to admit I'm not the biggest Jack Black fan. He's a one-note actor, playing the same goofball spastic character time after time. "Tropic Thunder," "School of Rock," "Tenacious D" - it's all the same. Although bankable, he's just not that entertaining.
Segel, on the other hand, is a hilarious guy mainly known for "How I Met Your Mother" and "Forgetting Sarah Marshall." However, with his bad English accent and a bland script, he simply falls flat. Luckily, Blunt and O'Dowd provide some humor and good acting.
But two actors can't carry the whole movie. The 3-D effect is intended to be an exciting addition, but it's truly a waste. There's really no use for it, other than the opening credits.
Overall, this movie is a bit of a mess. It's easy to get bored, and the plot is all over the place. Some of the themes are a bit much for a younger audience and at times the movie seems like more like a bad romantic comedy.
A silly musical number doesn't make things any better. The gratuitous pop-culture references are overwhelming. The iPhone was one of the biggest stars in the movie!
Although this might not be the greatest ticket this holiday, it is something that will get a few laughs from kids and die-hard Jack Black fans on Christmas Day. I guess you will have to decide for yourself whether this is a trip that you want to take.