Review: “Gnomeo & Juliet”? Just Rent the DiCaprio Version

You can almost imagine the moment that spawned “Gnomeo & Juliet.” Someone walked into a room wearing a pointy red hat, someone else shouted, “What up, Gnomeo!” And then things got weird. Look, it happens to everyone, but usually, after eight hours sleep, four Advil and a pot of coffee it’s forgotten about. But not this time.

As the title suggests, the film is a dumbed down retelling of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy about two star-crossed lovers whose families have been at war for as long as anyone can remember. But this time, the Montagues and Capulets are families of gnomes from neighboring gardens—zing!

The slowly devolves into an overlong and overeager attempt to create hilarious set pieces, too few of which work. When the voice of Hulk Hogan, heard for a total of maybe 60 seconds, brings the biggest laughs, you’ve got trouble.

There’s no character development, there’s no narrative, there’s no fun. What the film does have is a mind-boggling number of different versions of classic hits by Elton John, who also served as the film’s executive producer.

To really understand how dull “Gnomeo & Juliet” is, consider that, including William Shakespeare, a total of 10 people are listed as writers on the film’s IMDB page. Clearly, this thing was getting passed around in a desperate search for salvation, but it was to no avail.

The animation is OK, though nothing special, though there are a couple of montages with no backdrop art. It’s really strange, reminiscent of “Laugh-In” or a bad trip, as the characters prance and preen. It looks as though the animators forgot put in the background.

More than anything, “Gonemo & Juliet” is boring. How exactly James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Michael Caine, Jason Statham, Maggie Smith, Patrick Stewart, Ashley Jensen, Stephen Merchant and Ozzy Osbourne were convinced to lend their voices to this is a mystery. OK, maybe Ozzy isn’t a mystery, but the rest of them should’ve known better--even Statham.

Gnomeo & Juliet opens Friday in theaters everywhere

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