Two Family Films from Buena Vista
Pooh's Grand Adventure (April 13/06)
Pooh's Grand Adventure follows the thoroughly innocuous hijinks of Winnie the Pooh as he embarks on a quest to track down his best friend Christopher Robin. Along with cohorts Tigger, Eeyore, Rabbit, and Piglet, Pooh encounters one obstacle after another on his trek through the Hundred Acre Wood - while, at the same time, picking up a life lesson or two. While it's clear almost immediately that younger viewers will undoubtedly enjoy Pooh's Grand Adventure to a far greater extent than adults, the film never quite crosses the line into flat-out awfulness. Having said that, the overly preachy vibe and incredibly thin storyline - which is really just a series of broad vignettes loosely strung together - quickly becomes tedious, despite the obvious craftsmanship that's gone into every aspect of the production.
Spymate (April 1/06)
Though one could argue that Spymate delivers exactly what it promises - ie chimp action and lots of it - the film's reliance on excessively juvenile and silly elements ultimately transforms it into a tedious and thoroughly puerile ordeal. The story revolves around chimp/super-spy Minkey, who must come out of retirement to help an old agency buddy (played by Chris Potter) rescue his daughter from the clutches of a maniacal scientist (Richard Kind). Director Robert Vince, the brains behind the Air Bud and Most Valuable Primate series, infuses Spymate with a quick pace and an emphasis on parody, though there's nothing even remotely funny or exciting about any of this. Vince, along with co-screenwriter Anna McRoberts, has unapologetically crafted the film to appeal solely to younger viewers, the majority of whom will probably thrill to Minkey's larger-than-life antics. And although one would think that it'd be impossible to go wrong with a film that features a chimp engaged in hand-to-hand combat with a James Bond-esque villain, Spymate consistently and constantly proves otherwise.