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Saturday, March 10, 2012

My 100 Worst Movies of the 90's - 30 - Kazaam (1996)

Kazaam (1996; Touchstone Pictures)
Now for a movie I don’t respect.  Saquille O’Neil is an NBA Mega-Star, one of the most recognizable sports figures in history, and, honestly a pretty likable guy from what I’ve seen on him.  However, in the 90’s he made the inexplicable decision to be a rapper, and I guess decided the easiest way to become a rapper was to star in a movie where he rapped so he can show off his skills.  Oh-ho boy did he overshoot this one!  

Kazaam is a perplexing tale that follows Max (played with zero gusto by that kid from Free Willy 2) who meets up with a rapping genie named Kazaam who was trapped in a boom box after evading some local hoods.  He then exploits Kazaam’s enslavement to him to help him reconnect with his biological father.  Meanwhile, somebody found Shaq’s rapping bearable (because the plot says so) so he gets a record deal, and an evil exec tries to gain control over Kazaam and ultimately does so by KILLING THE KID!!!  So, we get an epically contrived ending to an already stupid, loud and mindless “comedy?”.

Kazaam is a truly bizarre film because it bounces between its emotions more than a bipolar meth addict.  We get heartwarming emotion unexpectedly interrupted by an unnecessary musical number, danger and menace mixed with special effects-ridden adventure and a strange and kind of twisted death scene followed by an elation-filled and facepalm-worthy ending.  This movie suffers from Buffet Screenwriting, a philosophy that you have to squeeze everything you can into your movie whether it belongs or not because otherwise it will be boring.  It’s interesting that just about every movie that employed this including, and particularly, Kazaam, ends up sucking big time while simpler films are almost always better.  Maybe filmmakers should take a hint.

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