A bumbling detective is blown up in his car by the evil Dr.Claw and used as a guinea pig for an experimental program designed to create bionic police officers. There he is endowed with 14,000 helpful gadgets by a beautiful scientist, such as a hand that doubles as a phone, giant spring-mounted legs, and a helicopter that pops out of his fedora. Gadget vows revenge on the evil Dr.Claw, but is more Inspector Closeau to really do much damage, so his daughter Penny and her trusty mutt make sure the good inspector gets a helping hand when he needs it.
Directed by: David Kellogg
. Starring: Matthew Broderick
, Rupert Everett
, Joely Fisher
, Michelle Trachtenberg
, Andy Dick
, Cheri Oteri
, Mike Hagerty
, Dabney Coleman
, D.L. Hughley
, Rene Auberjonois
, Frances Bay
, Mr. T
, Richard Kiel
. Music by: John Debney
Nothing brings about sweaty palms quite like a Disney live action movie event. This time the Mouse has a beloved 80's cartoon to work with and a huge effects budget to bring it to life. I really was hoping for something good, but I knew in the corners of my mind that Disney just can't pull this type of film off anymore. With Walt gone, all this material means to the company is Happy Meals and video sales. "Gadget" is an outrage of giant magnitude. The latest in a string of Disney live action family films with no class and no respect to the viewer.
If anything is inspired about "Inspector", it might be the casting of Matthew Broderick as our multi-gadgeted hero. Broderick still has the right amount of fresh faced charm and honest personality for the role. I doubt anybody else could have been a better choice to play the character, but then again I can't see anyone else taking the part after reading the script. The plot is basic, evil Claw(Rupert Everett in an embarrassing performance) vs. good Gadget. They also take the time to show us the origins of the characters, something the show never did. I would like to know why, in each of these cartoon or comic based movies, do we need to show the character foundations. "Gadget" would have been a lot more satisfying if they just dropped us in on the action and skipped the needless back story.
Distressing, almost hilariously so, is the use of Gadget's "thought balloons" for three key moments. It's no secret that this film tested very poorly and was continuously edited down to the current bare bones running time of 80 minutes. What was deleted was basically every inch of narrative(check out the Evil Joely Fisher, in purple latex, that comes out of nowhere and then leaves even quicker) and character, leaving only the action and more action aspects of the movie intact. I submit that this might be the first film that could legally be diagnosed with ADD. But back to the thought balloons... Some scenes that were cut are back in the film in spilt-second memories that Gadget has about plotlines that were excised. Each contain effects that I know Disney ordered back in due to the high cost of creating them. In the middle of all the noise we get Gadget remembering more noise. It's weird to describe it, it's even weirder to see it.
Since this is Disney flick, the filmmakers also include heaps of product placement. To those who found the gratuitous "Austin Powers 2" beer plug distasteful should stay away from the "Gadget" McDonalds, Skittles, Coke products, Tommy clothes(see below), and most blatantly, the Yahoo Internet corporation plugs. I've come to expect this behavior, but the discretion in which the placements are being presented is getting faint.
With the use of a huge budget the film does have the unique virtue of fully fleshing out the Inspector's gadgets. I'm trying hard not to be a sour puss, so I will heartily admit that the special effects are great. They colorfully display Gadget's trinkets more realistically than I could have imagined. The filmmakers deserve credit for the creation, but they ruin it with Gadget constantly in the midst of mayhem. There should've been more opportunities for Gadget to breathe, for the audience to get used to madness. No such luck. "Gadget" runs at full steam from opening credits to closing credits.
Almost sacrilegiously, the filmmakers have also decided to tamper with the essence of "Gadget". Niece Penny (sharply played by Michelle Tractenberg, in full Tommy Hillfiger gear) and canine Brain were, in the cartoon, the real reason Gadget got out of trouble. The real inspectors behind the Gadget. In this film, the two are quickly introduced and then quickly forgotten. The film relies on Gadget alone to solve the crime. He bumbles has way across town while Brain and Penny sit and watch. By taking out the essential charm, why did they even bother to make the film? Oh yeah, to sell toys.
"Inspector Gadget" is the bain of current children's cinema. The nation complains about violence and the impact on children, all the while blaming movies aimed at adults. The real enemy are these frenetic kid's films with nothing redemptive about them. "Gadget" is a one-note weapon of mass distraction aimed at kids all over the country. Take my advice and go, go, go to a different movie.--------- 1.
Review by Brian Orndorf from the Internet Movie Database.