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MR MAGORIUM'S WONDER EMPORIUM

SYNOPSIS:
Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium is the most wonderful toy store in the world in which everything literally comes to life, including the store itself. When Mr. Magorium (Dustin Hoffman), the store's 243 year-old proprietor, announces he is about to hand over the store to his less than confident young manager, Molly Mahoney (Natalie Portman), the store throws an unusual tantrum and the once colourful Emporium filled with playful toys turns gray and quiet. Things can only return to normal if a superdexterous 9 year old (Zach Mills) can help Mahoney and accountant Henry (Jason Bateman) find magic within themselves.

Review by Robert Newton:
Right down to the font on the movie poster, this colorful fantasy tries so hard to be the next Willy Wonka, though ultimately, it turns up snozzberries, instead making us recall the similarly unfortunate 1992 misfit, Toys, starring Robin Williams.

Natalie Portman, sporting a butchy do, tragic by even Lilith Fair standards, plays Molly Mahoney, a would-be musician stagnating as the manager of a magical New York toy store run by a silly-hearted gent named Edward Magorium (Dustin Hoffman). The kooky codger, who claims to be 243 years old, wants to depart (and think of that in the Harold & Maude sense of the word) and leave everything to Molly... as soon as she finds the whimsical joy within her and, by proxy, within us all.

The Prerequisite Adorable Child comes in the form of Eric (Zach Mills), a just-plain-weird kid whose unexplained love for hat collecting makes us worry a little bit that young Jeffrey Dahmer may have had a love for hat collecting that was later explained by his love of collecting heads to model them on. Jason Bateman (Arrested Development) plays a straight-laced accountant trying to make sense of Magorium's business, and of course, he eventually sees the magic in it all.

The magic only comes in occasional flashes, with the rest of the time filled by forced silliness that is not united by anything more than talk of smiles and puppies and rainbows. The Day-Glo dazzle of it all may be enough to keep 5- or 6-year-olds interested, but only for long enough for the next shiny future cast-off to come along.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

MR MAGORIUM'S WONDER EMPORIUM (G)
(US, 2007)

CAST: Ted Ludzik, Natalie Portman, Zach Mills, Dustin Hoffman, Madalena Brancatella, Paula Boudreau, Mike Realba

PRODUCER: James Garavente, Richard N. Gladstein

DIRECTOR: Zach Helm

SCRIPT: Zach Helm

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Roman Osin

EDITOR: Sabrina Plisco, Steven Weisberg

MUSIC: Alexandre Desplat, Aaron Zigman

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Thérèse DePrez

RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 13, 2007







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