I love a good kids’ movie. I will even go see one alone if I can’t find a little buddy to take me along. But The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure is not one of those kiddie flicks that adults will want to see on their own. I’m not even sure you’d want to see it with your kids. It’s clearly meant for the two to six year-old crowd, but even a discerning six year-old might want to run for the exit. It’s a weird musical adventure featuring three brightly colored, big-hipped teletubbie wannabes and their friends a talking window, vacuum, fish and pillow. Throw in brief appearances from an odd smattering of Hollywood stars — Cloris Leachman, Christopher Lloyd, Chazz Palminteri, Cary Elwes, Jaime Pressley and Toni Braxton — and it all adds up to a strange attempt to create a new thing for kids to obsess over. It doesn’t work.
The Oogieloves, Goobie, Zoozie and Toofie get their pillow pal, Schluufy, some balloons for his birthday. But the balloons float away before they can give them to him. So they set off on a mission to find the missing balloons in their town of Lovelyloveville. Along the way they meet characters like “Dotty Rounder” (Leachman) and “Milky Marvin” (Palminteri) and, inevitably, each encounter comes with a horrible musical number. Throughout the movie, kids are encouraged to get up and sing and dance along and talk to the characters on screen. It’s being billed as “the world’s first interactive movie.” And while seeing a theater full of kids blow kisses to the screen might be adorable, I can’t imagine any pre-schooler I know being engaged enough to do this throughout all excruciating 88 minutes.
The friend I saw it with (not a child) and I wondered aloud if the writers had been high when they wrote the script. We also thought it might be more palatable if one were stoned while viewing it. Yes, we are cynics and neither of us are parents. But even so, you can trust us… this movie is no fun for kids or parents. We saw it so you don’t have to. Skip it and rent some old Muppet movies instead.