Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius
review by Elias Savada, 28 December 2001

Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius is one righteously neat piece of glossy animated entertainment, suitable for entrancing the young of body, and positioned to absorb the parental units tired of holiday shopping and corralling the kids to yet another showing of Monsters, Inc. It's a pleasantly pre-pubescent romp around a candy-coated, pastel-colored solar system, courtesy of Nickelodeon and Paramount Pictures. The germ for this gem actually gestated for two decades in the mind of producer-director-writer John A. Davis (making his feature film debut), although the animated ten-year-old wasn't born until 1995, when he was christened 'Runaway Rocket Boy' in a forty-second award-winning video clip. Then producer-writer (and director of Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, Patch Adams, and the forthcoming martial arts spoof Kung Pow: Enter the Fist) Steve Oederkerk helped expand the computer-generated creation, pitching it as The Adventures of Johnny Quesar to the family entertainment network as a television series, before it ultimately morphed into the first animated feature from fourteen-year-old DNA Productions of Dallas 

A movie as cheerily heroic and blatantly wholesome as Jimmy Neutron also manages to revel in childish humor, and provides a wondrous showcase of fascinating home-grown gizmos that tosses Inspector Gadget into the tarnished aluminum recycle bin. For all the darkness and terror of Lord of the Rings' Middle Earth, Retroville -- the suburban setting that houses James Isaac Neutron (a.k.a. Rube Goldberg, Jr.), his spiffy robotic dog, Goddard, his June and Ward Cleaver parents, his freckled, bespectacled, and asthmatic best buddy, Carl, and all his pooh-pooing school chums—provides a spirited G-rated universe guaranteed to keep your kids occupied and squirm-free. Keeping the film's running time to a brief seventy-seven minutes helps, too.

The only competition for the kid crowds among this week's new saturation releases is Fox's Joe Somebody, but that's marketed for a more mature teen mindset. The aforementioned Lord of the Rings will wear the box-office crown (and perhaps break a record or two), while the remaining adult audience will be split among A Beautiful Mind (in limited markets) and The Majestic.

Over the course of this short feature, Jimmy's many quirky -- and often malfunctioning -- inventions get him into warm water and endless comic disarray with his adoring, yet concerned parents and his boisterously skeptical friends. His experimental SETI transmissions into outer space clues in a band of marauding egg-shaped aliens to steal the town's parents one night, this allowing all their children (there are apparently no teenagers in the community) to veg out on sugar candy and soda pop, let the cold out of their refrigerators, and pee in the shower, before realizing that their folks aren't really vacationing in Florida. Realizing they need their moms and dads to tend to their upset tummies, constipation, and other assorted bumps and bruises, Jimmy organizes the kids into an interstellar rescue mission, in deference to the cockeyed school of cartoon animation -- and in blatant disregard for the laws of physics -- with spaceships retrofitted from rides at a Retroland, a newly opened amusement park.

Jimmy and his buddies sport their own slanguage, peppered with a gee-whiz techno-edge and embraced with voice-over determination by the likes of Debi Derrybery (Jimmy), Jeff Garcia (Sheen, who has a more than aggressive admiration for cartoon hero Ultra-Lord), Carolyn Lawrence (Cindy Vortex, the girl-next-door with love-hate feelings for Jimmy), Candi Milo (Nick, a slick dude), and Rob Paulsen (Carl Wheezer). The internationally respected Patrick Stewart has finally vacated the straight-faced captain's seat on Star Trek's Enterprise for a royally pompous turn as King Goobot, the moody, petty leader of the Yokians. Martin Short is his all-too-optimistic right-hand egg, Ooblar, forever sucking up to his royal eggness. Comedienne Andrea Martin, last seen as the manager in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, puts in a brief vocal appearance as the diminutive Mrs. Fowl, a wizened school teacher who gets the short end of Jimmy's shrink ray.

Jimmy Neutron's adventure is a genial roller coaster ride, and ringmaster Davis has draped his virtual circus in an amusingly styled retro-world, an animated blend of Ozzie and Harriet and Blast From the Past. There's a grew deal of wide-eyed wonder awaiting all those pre-teens -- and more than a few adults -- who welcome the wit and imagination trolling the CGI-rendered world of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius.

One tyke, when exiting a Saturday morning preview, proudly blurted out to her parents that she would save them from evil aliens "…especially if I was a genius."

Heck, any day you save the universe from a fate worse than scrambled eggs can't be all that bad!

Directed by:
John A. Davis

Starring the
voices of:

Debi Derryberry
Patrick Stewart
Martin Short
Andrea Martin
Megan Cavanagh
Mark DeCarlo
Jeff Garcia
Carolyn Lawrence
Candi Milo
Rob Paulsen
Crystal Scales
Frank Welker

Written by:
John A. Davis 
David N. Weiss
J. David Stem
Steve Oedekerk

G - General Audiences.
All ages admitted.




Buy Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius at AllPosters.com
Buy the Original
Movie Poster at



www.nitrateonline.com  Copyright © 1996-2005 by Nitrate Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.