Fred Savage stars in this warm-hearted family adventure that features the excitement and thrills of video game competition. Corey (Savage) refuses to let his emotionally disturbed younger brother Jimmy (Luke Edwards) be institutionalized, and the two run away together. They soon join forces with a resourceful girl (Jenny Lewis), who notices that Jimmy has a special talent: he is a "wizard" at video games and gets the high score on absolutely everything he plays. Evading their parents and a sinister bounty hunter, the trio head for a climactic showdown at the video game championships in California. Co-starring Beau Bridges and Christian Slater, it's an inside look at the world of video gamers that will have you cheering the whole way!
Less raunchy than Tommy and more conventional than Tron, The Wizard also revolves around gaming. There's even a Bridges on board. In Tron it was Jeff, in The Wizard it's Beau. As opposed to the rock operas pinball-playing "deaf, dumb, and blind kid," however, quasi-catatonic Jimmy (Luke Edwards) is a video game wiz. While the nine-year-old lives with his mother, half-brothers Corey (Fred Savage, circa The Wonder Years) and Nick (Christian Slater, fresh from Heathers) live with their father, Sam (Bridges). When Jimmy, who recently lost his sister, is placed in a home, Corey busts him out for a trip to California. (Today, Jimmy's condition would be labeled post-traumatic stress disorder.) As they're leaving Utah, they join forces with gaming enthusiast Haley (Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis), who suggests LA's National Video Game Championships. So, off they go by foot, skateboard, and the kindness of strangers. Sam, Nick, and obnoxious bounty hunter Putnam (Will Seltzer) are close behind. The outcome may be a foregone conclusion--the fractured family makes their peace--but The Wizard still offers a nostalgic, Nintendo-laden look at 1980s gamer culture (Power Glove, Super Mario Bros. 3, etc.). Plus, sharp-eyed viewers will spot Toby Maguire milling around before the showdown at Universal Studios Theme Park. If not for the hitchhiking, gambling, and reckless automotive destruction--after Putnam takes a knife to Sam's tires, Sam smashes his headlights with a shovel--the movie would be appropriate for all ages. In other words, it earns its PG rating. --Kathleen C. Fennessy