The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D
Robert Rodriguez reinvigorates the kids’ actioner with a benignly wiggy flick bristling with anarchistic adolescence, complete with puerile humor in body noises and a villain culled from those meanest of meanies, a schoolteacher. Too bad the 3-D bits—thankfully only the cartoonish Planet Drool dreamland, a bulk of the flick, requires the glasses—are an afterthought. Parental friction sends ‘tweener Max (Cayden Boyd) retreating into his overactive imagination, where he divines the superheroish Sharkboy (Taylor Lautner), a karate-fighting kid prone to temper tantrums, and Lavagirl (Taylor Dooley), a confused lass who feels like she destroys everything she touches. This dynamic duo comes to flesh/blood life when Max’s Planet Drool gets taken over by the bully Linus (Jacob Davich), who becomes Minus in the binary universe of Max’s headroom. What follows is Max, Sharkboy, and Lavagirl taking on the Minus’ electrical cords, plugs, and charges, the sort of way beyond good/evil battle that Hegel might’ve concocted after dosing and playing Candyland for nine hours. Sharkboy and Lavagirl doesn’t hit Spy Kids’ family-fare heights (primarily because the adults are so wooden), but any kiddie flick whose message isn’t some Disneyfied moral but, quite simply, dream big, is A-OK in this curmudgeonly heart.