Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie
Holy talking asparagus! Literally. The computer-generated crudités from the long-running direct-to-video franchise, which retells Bible stories with musical numbers and a tossed-salad cast, expand their garden plot of world evangelism to the multiplex with a mildly entertaining adaptation of the Old Testament whale tale. Written and directed by the series' creative team of Phil Vischer and Mike Nawrocki, this bright and colorful film is as cheerfully upbeat as it is determinedly didactic, though the monotheistic religious messages remain nondenominational. Interspersed with mostly catchy tunes in a variety of styles (Broadway, gospel, power ballad, pop, ersatz "rock" and "rap"), Jonah lurches between some inspired silliness (with several sly nods to classic Monty Python skits, believe it or not) and preachy moralizing that stops the narrative dead in its tracks for anybody outside the toddler target audience. Still, who can argue against a lesson of mercy and forgiveness? Jonah isn't Disney, but at least it remembers a key Disney philosophy: A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.