February 8, 2013

The Oogieloves in the BIG Balloon Adventure (2012)

THEY COME FROM THE MAN who gave us the Teletubbies.

They look like Barney the Dinosaur, the Doodlebops, and H.R. Pufnstuf had a freaky three-way.

They had the worst box-office opening of all time.

And now, they’re coming to your home.

Yes, last fall’s infamous bomb The Oogieloves in the BIG Balloon Adventure is now available on home video. It features the adventures of full-bodied puppet-kids Goobie, Zoozie, and Toofie as they plan a surprise birthday party for their friend Schluufy, who happens to be…a gibberish-spewing pillow. But when their friend, a vacuum named J. Edgar (because he’s a Hoover, get it?), trips and loses five magical balloons meant for Schluufy, the Oogies set out to retrieve the balloons in time for the party.

The Oogieloves in the BIG Balloon Adventure is an interactive movie, with the Oogies talking to the screen and urging preschoolers to get out of their seats at various points in the film and take part in song and dance routines, complete with follow-the-bouncing-ball lyrics displayed at the bottom. These overzealous commands quickly spiral out of control, often coming just minutes apart and sometimes lasting for mere seconds before the kids are told to sit down. (It makes the stand-sit-pray frequency of a Catholic mass look tame.) The songs are of the Chinese-water-torture variety, repeating the same verse over and over until you confess to crimes you didn’t even commit.

The Oogies encounter actual human beings in their journeys, and it makes you wonder what career-ending scandals these actors are hiding that allowed them to be blackmailed into appearing:
  • Cloris Leachman as a polka-dot-loving shrew named (wait for it) Dottie
  • Chazz Palminteri as Marvin Milkshake, who basically hazes his customers into dancing for their drinks at his dairy bar
  • Toni Braxton (whose recent bankruptcy might explain her presence here) as a pop diva in a painfully long segment where she sings a ballad about coughing and sneezing
  • The Princess Bride’s Cary Elwes, who seems to be enjoying himself way too much as a bubble-loving cowboy whose bouncy swagger makes him look like he has to pee
  • Jaime Pressly as a latino salsa dancer and her partner Christopher Lloyd, who’s dressed in flamenco garb and speaks only by beating his bongos

And just when it seems all of Schluufy’s birthday balloons are safely retrieved by the Oogieloves, they’re lost again due to a strong wind. But before you can say deus ex machina, the balloons declare, “There’s only one thing stronger than the wind: love!” So the Oogies – and I am not making this up – start blowing kisses over and over to bring the balloons back. It’s at this point your mind starts coming to grips with the fact that the entire film centers around a surprise birthday party for a pillow. (When does life exactly begin for a pillow? Is it the manufacture date on the tag?)

Spoiler alert: The Oogies’ kisses bring the balloons back and the party is a success, as Schluufy sits there like some kind of stuffed invalid while everyone dances around him, seemingly rubbing their mobility in his face.

On some level, the Oogieloves’ creator Kenn Viselman (he of Teletubbies and Thomas the Tank Engine fame) should be commended for trying something different with the interactive nature of The Oogieloves in the BIG Balloon Adventure and its world of bright colors, soft shapes, and surreal settings. But factor in the trite, grating musical numbers, stilted dialogue, inept animal puppetry, often-insulting tone, and complete lack of substance, and you’re left with nothing more than an 88-minute mess. The Oogieloves in the BIG Balloon Adventure may be filled with the best intentions, but so is the road to Hell.


What did FilmBoy and Jack-Jack think?
FilmBoy thought The Oogieloves in the BIG Balloon Adventure was awful, declaring at mid-point, “How is the guy who created this not embarrassed?” Jack-Jack kept saying repeatedly, “Why was this in the theaters?” – though secretly, I think he may enjoy the film more than he lets on.

Is it suitable for your kids?
From a strictly content perspective, yes – unless you consider Jaime Pressly kissing the Oogieloves’ pet fish on the lips to be subversive.

Will your FilmMother want to watch it?
My FilmMother thought The Oogieloves in the BIG Balloon Adventure was trippy, annoying, and devoid of any educational value. Halfway through, she said to me, “We’re never gonna get these moments back, you know.”

More like the Oogiehates, amiright?
Thank you, try the veal.

The Oogieloves in the BIG Balloon Adventure
* Director: Matthew Diamond
* Screenwriter: Scott Stabile
* Stars: Christopher Lloyd, Cary Elwes, Jaime Pressly, Cloris Leachman, Chazz Palminteri, Toni Braxton, Garrett Clayton, Maya Stange, Nick Drago, Malerie Grady, Steve Blackwood
* MPAA Rating: G

Rent The Oogieloves in the BIG Balloon Adventure from Netflix >>


Tom said...

All the actors who provided voices must have really needed the money.

Neil Dunsmore said...

I checked this out due to curiosity and I must say, there was one thing I shockingly liked about this movie: Marvin Milkshake. Seriously, he was the only character whose actor I can honestly tell was happy to be in this movie. Also, since I linked you to one of these posts before, I figure you might be interested in this follow-up I made: http://ndunsmo.deviantart.com/art/TSON-vs-AAT-vs-TLBT-vs-ADGTH-358555006


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