Along with Grindhouse partner Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez is the reigning auteur of pulp cinema — but he also has a weakness for gonzo, FX-laden kiddie entertainment, like his Spy Kids trilogy. For his latest foray into pre-pubescent palaver, he even tosses in a moral worthy of Aesop.
A magic, rainbow-colored wishing stone lands in a tony burb and into the clutches of the greedy and vain. The wishes go awry, of course: a couple are fused together at the hip; alligators become bi-pedal; a gigantic blob of phlegm goes on a rampage like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in Ghostbusters.
Throw in the local manufacturer of the ultimate iPhone (it's a nose-hair trimmer and toaster, too) and you have a movie that's long on Saturday-morning screwiness but lacks comic payoff. Rodriguez should have turned to Tarantino for a few pointers on non-linear narrative.