Goosebumps (Sony, 2015)
I was too old for Goosebumps when it was big the first time around, but my kids know what it is. My son has one or two of the books and likes them. My kids had been bugging me to see this movie for weeks and we finally saw it this past Sunday. Jack Black was on an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba and in the film Gulliver's Travels which my son loved. “If Jack Black is in it you know that it's going to be good”, he tells me. I have enjoyed many movies that he has been in and am inclined to agree.
Black plays R. L. Stine, the author of the series of books which have, according to various jokes in the film, outsold Stephen King worldwide to the tune of 400 million copies. Stine is a recluse living in an old neighborhood with his daughter who is home-schooled. His world is rocked when a teenage kid from New York and his mother move into the house next door. The kid's mom takes a job as an assistant principal at the school, setting up a scenario for embarrassment that never really materializes. There are several scenarios that are set up that aren't really explored, such as the death of the kid's father which is mentioned once and then never touched upon again.
Stine's manuscripts are all kept under lock and key and are accidentally unlocked, releasing the monsters into the world. It's all silly but I am fairly certain that 42 year old men are not the target audience for this movie. My kids loved it and I enjoyed it well enough for what it is. Jack Black is enjoyable and there are enough oohs and ahhs to keep things moving along. This is a solid Halloween movie for young kids. No swearing or anything inappropriate for young children. There was one or two scenes that my 6 year old daughter acted scared during, but I don't think that she was really scared. She certainly didn't have nightmares because of this movie.
I may have glossed over a dozen or so things but whatever. If you have kids they will enjoy this. You may enjoy it even if you don't have kids. You will likely enjoy it if you grew up on the books, as there were undoubtedly Easter eggs peppered throughout the entire film. In a world of franchises and sequels this is one of the most palatable offerings in ages.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4 out of 5.