Shorts 2009 (Blu-ray)
Spy Kids filmmaker Robert Rodriguez hatches a fun-filled story of the chaos that erupts when folks young and old get their hands on a rainbow-striped Wishing Rock. Jon Cryer, William H. Macy, Leslie Mann and James Spader star in this hilarious not-so-tall tale.
A fantastical story, relayed in the form of short vignettes by director Robert Rodriguez, Shorts
is the story of a magic wishing rock and kids' imaginations gone wild. The film plays a lot like the The Little Rascals
) films from the 1920's-1940's: it's made up of short, comical episodes that focus on kids adventures and how imagination drives their play. When a magical rainbow rock falls from the sky and lands in the middle of tech-town Black Falls, a young boy Toe (Jimmy Bennett) discovers that the rock has the power to grant his every wish. The victim of constant bullying, Toe wishes for friends as unusual as himself and ends up with a posse of aliens who protect him while seriously complicating his life. As narrator, Toby quickly stops the film, explaining that his experience is really the middle of the story, and then rewinds repeatedly to relate various encounters between neighborhood kids and the magic rock. Each short is its own journey into a kid's imagination where wishes for everything from a treasure hunt, to a fortress guarded by crocodiles, a super smart baby with telepathic powers, and a booger monster grown from one boy's booger are immediately granted. These fantastical wishes wreak havoc on the entire Black Falls community: the children, the technology obsessed, disconnected Black Box employees, and the tyrannical Black Box boss Mr. Black (James Spader). In the end, the magic rock is a catalyst for change, encouraging kids and adults to work together and inspiring serious reflection regarding one's wishes, dreams, and goals. Rodriguez does a great job of portraying the wildness of kids' imaginations and viewers that delight in over-the-top ridiculousness and the overtly gross will laugh hysterically throughout the film. Unfortunately, those who demand restraint may find it overdone. (Ages 10 and older) --Tami Horiuchi