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By Jeff Meyers | Posted 9/24/2008

First-time feature film director Tony Leondis' Igor is a painful exercise in tone-deaf children's filmmaking. The jokes are stale, the pace bounces between frantic and lethargic, and the visual elements are a patchwork of borrowed ideas from better kids' flicks. In the blighted land of Malaria, evil scientists fuel the economy by blackmailing the rest of the world with monstrous inventions. Each year, the kingdom holds an Evil Science Fair, where the threat of the year is chosen. When his cruel but incompetent master (John Cleese) blows himself up in the lab, Igor (John Cusack) sees his chance to prove, once and for all, that hunchbacks can be geniuses, too. Assisted by Scamper (Steve Buscemi), a suicidal but indestructible bunny, and Brain (Sean Hayes), a defective brain in a jar, Igor does the unthinkable; he creates life. Unfortunately, his gigantic Frankenstein monster turns out to be Eva (Molly Shannon), an aspiring actress who wouldn't hurt a fly. If you were hip to the concept until that last sentence, you're not alone: The monster-turned-thespian backbone of the story is so horribly from left field and so ill-considered that Igor never recovers. (James Lipton jokes?) Instead it throws one lame-ass pop culture joke at the screen after another while frantically counting down the clock with hyperactive shtick.

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