Anchor Bay // 2010 // 81 Minutes // Rated G
Reviewed by Judge Bill Gibron // December 24th, 2010
Today Kids Rule!
When in doubt, take the Eddie Murphy way out!
That's what a great many formerly popular comics are doing nowadays. It's a not a new thing, mind you. Tim Allen went all Santa after being slapped down for serious humor cinema consideration, and cutting edge jokesters like Jim Carrey and Jack Black have been traveling the bifurcated witty/wee one route since Tinseltown revoked their "next big thing" status. Now it appears that even never-was gag phenoms are courting the kiddie demo when making their desperation career moves. Take Pauly Shore (as the late, great Henny Youngman would suggest...PLEASE!) for example. After wheezing the juice one too many times, he overstayed his already limited Valley Guy welcome and became a funny business footnote. Of course, to many, this was a vast improvement, both talent and celebrity wise. However, gimmick jesters gotta eat, and so Shore has been cranking out the direct to DVD fare, the latest being the lame if slightly likable family film Opposite Day. While it's innocuous enough and definitely aimed at the developing IQ, it symbolizes something much sadder about all involved.
Sammy (Billy Unger, You Again) and Carla (Ariel Winter, Modern Family) are sick and tired of their workaholic parents. They never spend any quality time with the precocious siblings. When a planned family vacation ends up being an afterthought trip with Grandma and Grandpa to a remote mountain cabin, the duo makes a wish: they want kids to rule the world, putting parents in their place once and for all. As luck (and contrived high concept plotting) would have it, a screwball scientist named Godfrey (French Stewart, 3rd Rock from the Sun) is developing a secret formula that does exactly that. When it is accidentally released into the local community, it turns Sammy and Carla's parents -- Robert (Pauly Shore, Encino Man), mom Denise (Colleen Crabtree) -- into children. Upon returning home, they find the entire town being run by their peers, including Godfrey's son Chaz (Dylan Cash, Fat Albert) who wants his dad to pay for his lack of attentiveness once and for all.
There is a very fine line between child actors putting on adult airs and small fry performers perfecting a realistic mature aura. In fact, this entire experience is built on such a pragmatic problem. Truth be told, this is just a fancy way of saying that the undersized cast of Opposite Day has a really hard time convincing us that they are anything other than charming ankle biters nibbling on dialogue too grown-up for them to fully grasp. If acting is all about experience, it definitely shows here. While Unger and Winter get to stay in good-natured grade schooler mode, the rest of their onscreen pals must argue economic woes, enforce the law, and otherwise act like harried, irresponsible guardians. It's a massive stretch, and one that the movie can't quite pull off. Oddly enough, Shore and the rest of the middle-agers have no big problem putting on the ditzy diaper. They are fine futzing around like spoiled rotten "brat" packers soiling themselves (sounds like typecasting). Overall, Opposite Day is perfectly fine piffle, the kind of subpar programming you'd find as part of an early morning programming loop on Noggin or The Disney Channel. While it's not horrifically offensive, it's also not very good.
As for the DVD package, there's not much to say. There are no bonus features, the image is a decent if unexceptional 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer, and the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is mediocre at best. No one is expecting a flashy, full blown Criterion-style release, but it would be nice to see distributor Anchor Bay spending some money to make the digital presentation more palpable. Heck, even the House of Mouse decks out their drek with the occasional remote control game or tie-in gallery. Just like Dr. Doolittle or Gulliver's Travels, aiming directly at the Garanimals fanbase is a decent comedian diversion -- and often rather lucrative. Here's guessing that Opposite Day will not fall into either category, no matter who it markets to.
Guilty -- induces more groans than giggles.
Review content copyright © 2010 Bill Gibron; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Anchor Bay
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 81 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Rated G