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Recess

Guest Starring Dabney Coleman, Robert Goulet, Melissa Joan Hart, April Winchell, Robert Stack and James Woods
Screenplay by Jonathan Greenberg
Recess created by Paul Germain & Joe Ansolabehere
Directed by Chuck Sheetz
website: www.disney.com/recess

IN SHORT: For the single digit kidlet. [Rated G. 82 minutes]

Based on the television show Disney's Recess, this big screen version still looks like a teevee show projected on a big screen. Recess: School's Out, like other expanded smallscreens, is stuffed full of 60s and 70s hits to keep parents humming. It is written well enough that you don't have to know the original to follow along, if you want to, though there's little of interest in the story to make us happy to sit in a theater. As we've written before, the end result for Recess: School's Out, at least as far as those of us that carry big wallets are concerned, is a tape in the VCR. Thus no rating.

Enough about us grownups. The four year-olds were having a ball. Put another check mark next to: "see it a million times on tape."

The only thing that kidlets look forward to more than the seasonal holidays is that grand oasis in the middle of the year, when schools are closed and the sun rises high in the sky. For ten year old TJ Detweller (Andy Lawrence), summertime means swimming and baseball and anticipation of the fifth grade to come. What TJ doesn't know is that all of his friends are about to desert him for summer camp. But something is happening at the school, which is supposed to be locked up tight for the summer. His parents don't listen. The police laugh at him and his only recourse is the principal, Pete Prickly (Dabney Coleman). But when the pair go down to the school, principal Prickly is zapped and disintegrated by some kind of green light blast of electrical energy..TJ's only hope is to break his friends out of summer camp and stake out the school until the mystery is solved!

Using her stolen diary as a tool, TJ gets older sister Becky (Melissa Joan Hart) to drive him up to summer camps land and liberate his friends: Spinelli (Pam Segall) is in Wrestling camp; Vince (Rickey D'Shon Collins) is in Baseball camp; Gretchen (Ashley Johnson) is in Space camp; Mikey (Jason Davis) is in Music camp and new kid Gus (Courtland Mead) is at Military camp. Sheesh. Whatever happened to one lake fits all?

There's a fat teacher (April Winchell) and a school snitch (Ryan O'Donohue) to provide comic relief. The bad guy (James Woods) is an ex-principal determined to wipe out any conception of recess and/or vacation forever. He also demonstrates that he never paid attention in science class 'cuz his world-altering theory and evil invention -- a mega whomping anti-gravity "Photon Channeler" designed to move the moon a little to the left -- is flat out wrong.

Our dad taught Earth Science. We know these things.

We also know our nieces and nephews. The eight year-old wants to see the movie badly, and he won't be disappointed. The ten year old is borderline, but she loves movies and would probably make it through as a happy camper. Older than that? We doubt it.

One last thing, Robert Goulet provides the singing voice of Mikey and you get the strangest pleasure of hearing a Broadway star singing "Green Tambourine". A flashback sequence in the film, aimed directly at us old nuts, contrasts Yellow Submarine with Easy Rider and is easily the high point of the flick. For us old nuts.

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