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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 33.75%
Just Average: 17.5%
Pretty Crappy: 4.38%
Sucks: 3.13%

11 reviews, 94 user ratings

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Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events
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by David Cornelius

"Needs something more, but what we get's still good."
3 stars

I find myself mildly underwhelmed by “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events,” much to my surprise. Oh, the movie is a good one, to be sure, but perhaps expectations were running too high, making me leave the film feeling as if there could have - should have - been more.

The problem lies, I think, in the filmmakers’ decision to combine three books into one film, the result being a movie too slapdash, uneven, episodic in an unfulfilling manner. I can understand the decision; each book in the “Unfortunate Events” series is too short to make into a movie all by itself. But cramming the first three books (“The Bad Beginning,” “The Reptile Room,” and “The Wide Window,” for those keeping score) into one movie that runs just a smidge over ninety minutes doesn’t quite work, either. Despite the best efforts of scripter Robert Gordon (“Galaxy Quest”), what we have here is a picture that feels like three episodes of a TV series edited together. The teeny pieces that get passed off as a running thread throughout the plot don’t hold very well, and the disjointed nature of the overall screenplay becomes somewhat annoying. The finale is the most distracting, an ending that feels tacked on merely as a way to wrap everything up for those who can’t be bothered to wait for the sequel.

(I have a handful of other problems with the ending as well, but not much else can be said without spoiling. So let’s just leave it with a “the finale’s the worst part,” and move on.)

Having said all that, I still liked it. Had a right good time. There’s a lot to love about this Edward Gorey-by-way-of-Tim Burton comedy dreadful, mostly the way it, like the books, revel in the deliciously sinister. This is a feast of over-the-topness, and not even Jim Carrey’s mugging, the adorable baby, or the sheer PG-ness of it all can dampen the dark glee.

Yes, this is one of those movies where Carrey ignores why we love his low key work and groan at his hammier stuff. But here, the hammy stuff kinda works anyway. Carrey, playing the villainous Count Olaf, brings to the film a sense of much-needed winkingness. By clowning around as much as he does, he lets the younger viewers know that all this doom and gloom is all in good fun. He reminds us that this story is wicked, but it’s a safe wicked. So when characters wind up dead, as they so often do here, it’s doesn’t frighten, but cause a chuckle.

The pomposity of it all stretches into the production values, where everything looks like the inside of Danny Elfman’s head. And while it feels like director Brad Silberling is always trying way too hard to be Burtonesque, the look of the film is so delightful that the forcefulness of its goth never hurts the final product. “Unfortunate” is above all else a showcase for the production team; while the story comes and goes, the look, sound, and feel of the movie is so spot-on that this becomes one of those wonderful films that’s just a treat to sit back, tune out the plot a tad, and soak in the tone.

I’m hoping that when the sequel rolls around (and with a movie built for blockbuster success, of course there’ll be a sequel), the filmmakers will have found a way to streamline the plot into something more fulfilling, an adventure with more focus. Until then, however, I suppose I’ll make do with what we have, an uneven yet captivating bit of the ghoulish and the bleak, with kids.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=11348&reviewer=392
originally posted: 12/20/04 20:21:45
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User Comments

3/07/08 peter i think this movie was pretty shit i think the baudelaire children should have died 1 stars
2/09/08 Samantha P i really liked this movie, i hope they make more, Jim Carrey was great as Count Olaf! 4 stars
11/03/07 Tiffany Losco Wierd but good. Jim Carreys funny 5 stars
7/14/07 Vincent Ebriega Not just beyond expectations, but beyond a usual juvenille production. 3.5/5. 4 stars
7/11/07 Hello Stranger emily browning is a great actress. cheers to liam as well 5 stars
11/10/06 Bill Hi all 5 stars
10/12/06 Xier Hernandez wow..it was really great...cool !!!!!! 5 stars
8/12/06 Andy Liam Aiken is the best part of the film 5 stars
7/19/06 David Cohen Jim Carrey's haminess ruined what should have been a classic 3 stars
6/27/06 joe koski good movie but the books are better 3 stars
6/18/06 chienne I'd never heard of LS, never read a book, but loved the film and have bought the books 5 stars
6/02/06 Elizabeth Wiley great 5 stars
5/27/06 Sarah its great! 5 stars
5/21/06 Diane P a little boring for me but my daughter loved it 3 stars
5/15/06 ororo manro It is agreat film and i would definatly watch it again,because of the unique acting skills. 1 stars
5/12/06 mr.seraph the only parts i found interested where those which included Jim Carrey 2 stars
4/04/06 John Aster Habig big fan of the books and Carrey but it was a bad adaptation, the kids actually saved it 3 stars
4/03/06 JRE the books are a lot more interresting, however Carrey did an amazing job 3 stars
3/29/06 Monique it was kool 5 stars
3/29/06 Amy cunninghamsy An exellent movie to watch 5 stars
12/11/05 Bad Critic Jim Carrey and Billy Connolly gave good performances, but it only covered three books! 3 stars
10/24/05 Stephanie The Book Is Way Better Should Have Been One Book One Movie Not Three Books In One Movie 2 stars
10/22/05 Deaf. I loved this movie! Jim Carrey is just so good at being evil. 5 stars
8/29/05 ES Started great but fizzled, they should have done a H. potter & stayed closer to the books 3 stars
8/22/05 Quigley the movie ruled. carrey was perfect. liam aiken was horrible. not to mention good CG. 5 stars
8/14/05 John Aster Habig big fan of the books and Carrey but it was a bad adaptation, the kids actually saved it 3 stars
8/08/05 reggie splendid!!! 5 stars
8/05/05 Zack Okay, it was better than "The Grinch, I'll admit, but.... 2 stars
8/01/05 Annie the kids did incredible, carrey was just creepy though 3 stars
7/23/05 summer Liam aiken sucks 1 stars
7/20/05 Sir Dude Loved it. Some of the best parts were deleted scenes, though. 5 stars
7/16/05 Pardue, sara Great Movie, The theme, imagination, and the fun is a enjoyable. 4 stars
7/03/05 Vic bull shit one of carey lesser funny movie...very tedious it dragged on 1 stars
7/02/05 anonymous It is a wonderful movie and Carrey, Browning and Aiken did phenominal! 5 stars
6/20/05 Honestly Movie good. Hated Jim; no one else available? Not looking forward to another with Jim. 3 stars
6/20/05 darick See it (especially if you haven't read the books) 4 stars
6/07/05 Darcy my son loved it 4 stars
6/04/05 Ubu the Ripper A great flick. Carrey is best when he is doing dark humor. 5 stars
5/27/05 JFK great photography and a great jim carrey performance 4 stars
5/27/05 Quigley Jim Carrey shows off his pure film magic in this. a hilarious movie. meryl streep rocked! 5 stars
5/16/05 E-FUNK I hate child-actors, but not a single complaint in this. Carrey fucking owns this. 4 stars
5/10/05 suzie suezetta good movie but not at all like the books 4 stars
5/06/05 ken good movie , very inteeresting 4 stars
5/02/05 Gary Jim Carrey was extraordinary in this 5 stars
4/30/05 Steve Newman seen this film twice - it gets better every time 4 stars
4/26/05 louis ok, but i expect more from jim, so i is good, but can be better 4 stars
4/26/05 BoyInTheDesignerBubble Beware of the spyglass. Its not in the books. It was added by the director. I smell sequal. 4 stars
4/19/05 Nicole Baugh I don't really care for Jim Carrey much but this movie was pretty good. 4 stars
4/18/05 Renita Long Fun! 4 stars
4/16/05 Lynnette Stevens We loved this movie! 5 stars
4/09/05 Jillyn It was funny and really cute, and suprisingly followed the books pretty well 5 stars
2/25/05 Mia Griggs Too gloomy - my 5 year old was scared and he likes Harry Potter 3 stars
2/24/05 Evangelica Schnapfenschalz Good, despite that Carrey (better as grinch) is monotonoutsly flat as unrelenting villain. 4 stars
2/16/05 Littlepurch Pleasing adaption of excelent bks.Glad they took enough poetic license to change some bits. 5 stars
2/05/05 Tom Benton Though fans of the books may be disappointed, the film will please the average moviegoer. 3 stars
2/04/05 Ann Klonicki This was a little over the top for young kids 3 stars
2/03/05 Mirella Rodriguez Great Movie, not for young kids 4 stars
2/03/05 craig varney great jim carrey can play anything 5 stars
2/03/05 Debbi Kalstein fun 4 stars
2/02/05 photocopy Buy posters from this movie at AllPosters.com 5 stars
1/29/05 Gretchen Lowe I was expecting something else, I don't like children's movies:) Sorry 4 stars
1/26/05 Angelique Gloster I loved the movie it was the funniest movie I've ever seen! 5 stars
1/26/05 JesseL Nice dark comedy. Carey's aping can get wearisome. Biting baby makes it. 4 stars
1/19/05 ELI Had some stupid parts, but overall it was good! :) Good visuals 4 stars
1/17/05 Paterfam001 Not funny, not scary. I can't see kids getting excited about this movie. 2 stars
1/17/05 Shaira Liam is hott! 5 stars
1/13/05 Andi it totally was not a movie worth seeing again 1 stars
1/12/05 Robby Boyajian Great Movie but, doesn't follow the book to well 4 stars
1/11/05 Seth S. Wow... It was mandititory (for school) but it was WAY better than the books! ***** 5 stars
1/06/05 Angel C. It gave a interesting twist and a new look at the book series. It is a good film, the next 4 stars
1/05/05 Chuck Craig Carry is a little over the top, but acceptable. 4 stars
1/05/05 Mrk If you are a slight bit creative, you will enjoy this film. Very well acted. 5 stars
1/02/05 Lil Poor adaptation 2 stars
1/01/05 NoRefill Pretty bored during movie. Almost fell asleep twice. Just couldn't get into it. 3 stars
1/01/05 Karel cool! 4 stars
1/01/05 Maalstrom Always entertained when Carrey's on scene 4 stars
12/30/04 Jennifer I love the books and the movie was a wonderful adaptation! It was better than awesome! 5 stars
12/30/04 Worthy Slacker WOW! What a surprise. Expected a "formula" kid movie and got a "Top 10 film of the year". 5 stars
12/29/04 Max Trying too hard to be a tim burton film! 2 stars
12/28/04 Tom Ciorciari Like Charles Addams on acid, if that's possible 4 stars
12/27/04 aubree supeer duper 5 stars
12/23/04 Titus A bit rushed, and perhaps a bit too goofy for the story, but still great 4 stars
12/21/04 John Aster Habig Love all 11 books! The kids were well cast, but adults were ok with mediocre adaptation 4 stars
12/21/04 bobbi Excellent movie, a little shallow at the end but probably because of possible sequel 5 stars
12/20/04 Devon Awesome movie, worth your money 5 stars
12/20/04 michaelb14 great story, and great telling 5 stars
12/19/04 Daveman Impressive sets, sometimes funny but pretty pedestrian all in all. 2 stars
12/18/04 Naka HAH! A pleasent surprise. 5 stars
12/18/04 KingNeutron Liam Aiken was the only weak link. Very dark and gripping story. 4 stars
12/18/04 Mahone Awesome sets, but that's about it 3 stars
12/17/04 Littlepurch Some fantastic, some dragged, but everyone should try it and will enjoy some. 4 stars
12/17/04 Cat Love the Books. Love the Film 5 stars
12/16/04 Joe Cool 5 stars
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  17-Dec-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 26-Apr-2005



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