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This week:
Nim's Island

Filthy says:
"Kids are retarded enough to deserve it."

Here's the thing that sucks about going to kids' movies: kids. They're everywhere, and if you haven't already noticed, kids are, like, retarded. Honest to God, they just aren't that smart. Have you ever heard six-year olds talk about where babies come from? Some people think it's cute and shit, but, come on, they don't even mention Candy Bottoms or the integral role porn plays in sexual intercourse.

But don't be the one to explain that to them. Trust me on that, okay?

I went to see Nim's Island this weekend. It's a kid flick about a girl who lives on a remote island and loves the stories an adventure writer who turns out to be very different than the character in the books. Pretty standard, sweet, icky stuff, except for the fucking brat in the seat next to me.

In Nim's Island, Jodie Foster plays the world's most annoying writer. She's an agoraphobe with obsessive-compulsive behavior who writes action-adventure novels starring a swashbuckling man with her name, Alex Rover. To amplify how annoying she is, her adventurer comes to life and she speaks to him (Gerard Butler).

On a remote island, Abigail Breslin lives with her fat-faced marine biologist father (Gerard Butler, again). She is home-schooled and sleeps in a treehouse with a farty sea lion, which I'm sure is a living condition banned by the Geneva Convention. Her other friends are a bearded dragon and pelican, whom she names and thinks talk to her.

Put aside for a moment the movie's dubious assumption that a child raised in solitude is going to be in any way normal. If we learned anything from Candy Bottoms' 1984 sociological classic "The Lonely Cuntress", it's that when lone savages from remote islands (or some big backyard in the San Fernando Valley) are introduced to society they go crazy, cannot speak, and express themselves solely through depraved sexual acts. That doesn't happen in Nim's Island, thank God, since it's just her and her father (although, the deserted island reminds me of another Candy Bottoms' classic, the anal adventure Poo Lagoon). The point is, Breslin is supposed to be a cute, precocious eleven-year old, and she's not. She's just mildly creepy, and so is her situation.

When Butler leaves her to go hunting protozoa on the open sea, Breslin is alone on the island. A monsoon rips through the island, tearing up the treehouse. It also knocks out the satellite equipment on Butler's boat, and tears up the ship. To make matters worse, their private island has been discovered by a cruise ship whose crew plans to turn its pristine shores into a resort for fat Australians.

In her father's absence absence, Breslin falls down the side of a volcano and gives herself a nasty cut. Her idol, Alex Rover (Foster) coincidentally e-mails to ask her father for some help with the details of her new book. That begins a penpal relationship between the girl and woman, where both have a misconception of the other. Breslin's increasingly desperate pleas for help make Foster realize she's dealing with a kid, and draw the agoraphobe out of her house and halfway around the world to help Breslin.

She never does help. She gets to the island after the girl has already fought off the threats. Foster does, however, get there in time for Butler to return from being lost at sea just so the movie can suggest that maybe there will be a little sex in the future. Of course, it's a kid's movie, so they don't really say it, but if there's romance, there's going to be penises entering vaginas.

Foster may set some new mark for unlikable heroines. She is so fucking annoying I wished the movie were in 3-D so I could wring her neck. She's so Goddamn corny as she hops around and acts neurotic about her fear of going outside, or slathering her hands in Purell (an obnoxious product plug). It's not rooted in any reality, just the over-the-top bullshit of an unfunny person trying to to make laughs out of an trite character. Every time she was onscreen, the scene went as limp and dead as zombie dick. I have no idea why the movie thinks we give a shit about Foster overcoming her fear of the outdoors, but it's the only reward the audience gets for watching her go for a Special Olympics Oscar for ninety minutes. She doesn't help the girl and she doesn't experience any real excitement.

Breslin's no better. Her character has almost no personality. Well, she's plucky and resourceful, but only as much as the story requires, and never in any clever way. That's overwhelmed with treacly bullshit like her dancing with a sea lion or crying for her father, who seems to do nothing while lost at sea except yell at the heavens "I'll be back. I swear I'll come home!" That's the way of Nim's Island, though, nothing clever or exciting. Not even a lot of noise.

The movie is also heavy with bad computer graphics. The pelican, lizard and sea lion, as well as some sharks that predictably circle the father's boat, look cheap and fake. Especially when they open their mouths to squawk communications, or haul tool belts across the ocean. Bad animation sucks, but it sucks even harder when it wasn't necessary to begin with.

Back that annoying kid in the theater. I would guess he was about six and he leans over to me early in the movie and says, "Alex Rover is real." It took a minute to figure out whether the little shit meant really real, or real as in not a figment of Foster's imagination. He meant the latter. I politely told him, "Don't be stupid." He insisted he was real. Then his mother gave me a dirty look.

Later, when it was pretty damn obvious, even to little, tiny babies, that the adventurer wasn't real, I nudged the kid and asked, "Still think he's real?" The kid frowned so I asked him, "Say it. Say it, punk, say it." And he did.

I'm an adult, in case you didn't know, so I reacted like an adult. I gently leapt from my seat and yelled, "In your face, you stupid little twerp!" That's when the ushers came.

Stupid kids. Stupid movie. Two Fingers for Nim's Island.

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