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Starring Shaquille O'Neal and Francis Capra
Directed by Paul M. Glaser

Kazaam is the story of a 5000 year old "genie with an attitude," played by basketball star Shaquille O'Neal. Like other genies he started off in a bottle but, as shown in a title sequence which delivers minimal information, he winds up in a boom box.

Knowing full well that I am not the demographic target of Kazaam, I sat quietly in my theater seat watching the children who, for the most part, sat quietly in their theater seats watching the screen. "Ah ha!," thought I, "they don't like it either!" But once the credits rolled there was a babbling of excited little boy voices reenacting the genie's movements and special effects. Shows what I know. Cranky thought, "if I only had a part of the toy franchise!"

Which is about the only positive thing I have to say about Kazaam, which stars Francis Capra as a remarkably dislikeable 12-year old who runs rampant in an undisciplined household. Constantly cuts class at school. Tosses the kind of attitude that would have gotten the tar whipped out of me when I was 12 (and my parents didn't hit!)

Max idolizes a father he hasn't seen since age 2, who turns out to be a concert promoter with unsavory business connections. Mom (and her firefighter would be fiance) are wimps in the John Bradshaw inner child school of parenting; there's a gang of school thugs constantly beating on Max, and it's all up to Kazaam to save the day...

...but all he wants to do is the three wishes thing and get back in the boom-box. Which is kind of difficult since Max doesn't want Kazaam to grant him any wishes, and Kazaam's powers don't quite work right.

In his big screen debut, Shaquille O'Neal shows a lovely smile.

It takes an hour for the special effects to kick in (I checked my watch) and they are enough to make your average five year old happy. That's got to be enough, I guess, for what few peeps came out of the mouths of the babes behind me were all along the lines of "Mommy why is [he] doing that?"

Cranky wishes he had brought mommy, too.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. ($4.75 in New York for the kidlets). Were Cranky able to set his own price for Kazaam, he would have paid . . .


Kazaam is a flick which I wouldn't even park my kids at. If I had kids, that is. It is suitable only for video so you can watch the special effects over and over again.

Click to buy films by Paul Michael Glaser
Click to buy films starring Shaquille O'Neal

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