The Adventures Of Rocky And Bullwinkle (2000)

Rating: ***
Release Date: 6/30/00
Music: Mark Mothersbaugh
Cast: Piper Perabo, Rene Russo, Jason Alexander, Robert De Niro, June Foray, cameos by Janeane Garofalo, John Goodman, Whoopi Goldberg, Jonathan Winters, and tons of others

A delightful romp into absurdity for the kid in everyone. After being stuck in re-runs for the last thirty-five years, Fearless Leader (Robert De Niro), Boris Badenov (Jason Alexander), and Natasha Fatale (Rene Russo) break out of Pottsylvania and into the real world, where a sinister plan unfolds. Unable to deal with the threat, the FBI sends a young and perky agent named Karen Sympathy (Piper Perabo) on a mission to find Rocky and Bullwinkle, the only two beings capable of stopping Fearless Leader. After summoning Rocky and Bullwinkle to the real world, it's a non-stop adventure full of rapid fire sight gags, verbal pun-ishment, and head spinning insanity. Naturally, the dynamic duo save the world in spite of their efforts.

I was surprised by how well the animated series from the 60's adapted to the big screen. All of the classic elements are intact, including the over-the-top narration. The film never takes itself seriously, and thankfully never bothers to explain how the cartoon world and the real world exist and co-exist. It just accepts the fact that cartoon characters are real, and goes forward based on that premise. A welcome sight given the tendency of American films to spend way too much time trying to validate themselves (which in turn tends to destroy the suspension of disbelief). The writing is very clever and on par with the original cartoons, with a non-stop barrage of bad jokes guaranteed to leave you groaning and begging for mercy. The casting and performances are right on the money. Jason Alexander as Boris Badenov is brilliant and Rene Russo's Natasha is deliciously wicked. For the most part the effects are very good, but there are the unavoidable problems of trying to marry animated characters with live action elements. However, it all manages to work out pretty well. But by far the film's greatest achievement is its magical ability to reach out and touch the kid in you. This is what the film set out to do, and it does it with flair. Great stuff!