MR. MAGOO

MR. MAGOO

(director: Stanley Tong; screenwriters: Pat Proft, Tom Sherohman/ based on the character Mr. Magoo, owned by UPA productions of America; cinematographer: Jingle Ma; editor: Davd Rawlins/Stuart Pappé/Michael R. Miller; music: Michael Tavera; cast: Leslie Nielsen (Mr. Magoo), Kelly Lynch (Luanne Le Seur), Matt Keeslar (Waldo), Nick Chinlund (Bob Morgan), Miguel Ferrer (Ortega Peru), Ernie Hudson (Agent Gus Anders), Stephen Tobolowsky (Agent Chuck Stupak), Malcolm McDowell (Austin Cloquet), L. Harvey Gold (Schmitt), Jennifer Garner (Stacey Sampanahoditra); Runtime: 87; MPAA Rating: PG; producer: Ben Myron; Walt Disney Production; 1997)

“Short-sighted, asinine and unbearable.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Stanley Tong’s (“Rumble in the Bronx”/”Supercop”) comedy on the cartoonish character Mr. Magoo (Leslie Nielsen), played in the cartoons by Jim Backus, is short-sighted, asinine and unbearable. It might be the worst film Disney ever made. Writers Pat Proft and Tom Sherohman should be embarrassed by their dumb screenplay.

The myopic millionaire canning factory owner Quincy Magoo (Leslie Nielsen) has donated the money for a museum to purchase the expensive ruby, The Star of Kuristan. At night the museum holds an unveiling celebration of the event, and the jewel is stolen by cat burglars. Through a series of misunderstandings and a false reading of the surveillance tape, the authorities believe Mr. Magoo had his accomplices steal the jewel. The bungling CIA agent Gus Andrews (Ernie Hudson) and the bungling FBI agent Chuck Stupak (Ernie Hudson) are called in to lead a dual investigation.

The real thieves are the burglars Bob Morgan (Nick Chinlund) and the kick-ass karate expert Luanne Le Seur (Kelly Lynch), who both work for crime boss Austin Cloquet (Malcolm McDowell). When Luanne double-crosses her partners and tries to steal from them the jewel, she knocks it out her partner’s hands and it lands on the unaware Magoo’s fishing tackle box as he’s in his fishing boat.

Stacey (Jennifer Garner),¬† a representative from the country where the jewel came from, tells Magoo’s nebbish nephew Waldo (Matthew Keeslar), who has a crush on her, that the cops suspect Magoo has the ruby. Thereby both the cops and the thieves spy on Magoo to see where he hid the jewel. Luanne poses as a reporter and pretends to have fallen in love with Magoo, as she schemes to steal the ruby from him by playing him for a sap. But when she gets the jewel, the crime boss snatches it from her. And, in a Colorado ski lodge, Cloquet invites other high roller crime bosses from around the world to bid on it at an auction in his ski house. Hoping to get back the jewel, Magoo poses at the auction as Ortega Peru, the king of the underworld.

The film’s big joke occurs when Waldo and Magoo track down the real Peru (Miguel Ferrer) in Brazil to get back the jewel he bought from Cloquet, and Magoo waits for laughs when he says Peru is in Brazil (Get it, Peru in Brazil!).

The comedy was atrocious, the acting was horrible (except from the bulldog Angus), the directing was inept and the story couldn’t be more lame. It’s a dreadful film.

REVIEWED ON 4/5/2020  GRADE: D