Review: The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure

Reviewing The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure from an adult perspective is essentially fruitless.

The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure
Photo: Kenn Viselman Presents

Reviewing The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure from an adult perspective is essentially fruitless, as enduring this brainless kid’s film is akin to witnessing the end of the world, with the titular Goobie (Misty Miller), Toofie (Malerie Grady), and Zoozie (Stephanie Renz)—giant costumed monsters who look like a cross between the Muppets, the Teletubbies, and terrifyingly noseless sea creatures—as the boisterous, brightly colored Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Insufferable barely begins to describe the pain delivered by this family adventure, which concerns a search for magical balloons intended for the birthday party of slumbering pillow Schluufy (who strangely recalls South Park’s pot-smoking Towelie), and has been directed by Matthew Diamond with pitifully pedestrian visuals and PBS-grade special effects. Reaffirming Sesame Street’s kids-programming preeminence via its awful, cornball song-and-dance numbers (which come accompanied with demands that the audience stand up and participate), as well as its wholesale absence of substance, it’s a rainbow-hued nightmare of simpleminded cheese. And it’s one made all the more grating for grown-ups by the embarrassing “star” turns of its supporting cast (including Chazz Palminteri, Jaime Pressly, Toni Braxton, Christopher Lloyd, Cloris Leachman, and a wild-eyed Cary Elwes), whose hammy performances send the proceedings even further into a realm of ear-splitting, eye-gouging shrillness.

That said, if the sight of Palminteri crooning about milkshakes or Leachman droning on about circles is enough to make one pine for the end of cinema (or, at least, an immediate projector malfunction), The Oogieloves is still probably right up a three-year-old’s alley, simply due to its preying on the in-diapers crowd’s fondness for bright colors, balloons, bubbles, simplistic jingles, and linguistic gibberish. That kids may take to the boisterous attitude and dim dialogue encouraged by this saga, however, doesn’t alter the fact that, by avoiding any attempt to deliver a message of some sort—about friendship, say, or teamwork, or sharing, or anything—the film eschews enlightening and educating in favor of superficially stimulating, and in the most banal, obnoxious way imaginable. Haphazardly mixing and melding elements from the aforementioned properties as well as Pee-Wee’s Playhouse and Dora the Explorer, The Oogieloves proves devoid of any intellectual or creative inspiration, and only ever-so-slightly redeems itself by refusing to indulge in fart jokes. Meanwhile, naming a vacuum cleaner J. Edgar, and having the camera momentarily linger on a young blond girl’s ass, are bizarre and pointless concessions to adult chaperones, who will no doubt relate only to Schluufy, who’s luckily allowed to spend almost the entire runtime asleep.

 Cast: Chazz Palminteri, Cloris Leachman, Jaime Pressly, Cary Elwes, Christopher Lloyd, Toni Braxton, Malerie Grady, Stephanie Renz, Misty Miller, Maya Strange, Nick Drago  Director: Matthew Diamond  Screenwriter: Scott Stabile  Distributor: Kenn Viselman Presents  Running Time: 83 min  Rating: G  Year: 2012  Buy: Video

Nick Schager

Nick Schager is the entertainment critic for The Daily Beast. His work has also appeared in Variety, Esquire, The Village Voice, and other publications.

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