Shorts [Blu-ray] Robert Rodriguez

Shorts [Blu-ray] Robert Rodriguez
If nothing else, Robert Rodriguez's latest family collaboration — an admonitory Little Rascals with a technophobic spin on the generational loss of traditional values — is better than his last outing with Sharkboy and Lavagirl. Whether this improvement intimates merit is subjective, depending much on one's amusement with inter-film title cards featuring goofy faces and accompanying fart sounds. Along with these chapter divisions are a variety of narrative interruptions, including pausing, fast-forwarding and out-of-sequence inserts, essentially making the film a series of shorts (hence the title), one of which features a booger monster. Showcasing the visual effects capabilities of Rodriguez's Troublemaker Studios, Shorts basically follows Toe Thomson (Jimmy Bennett), a social reject, after he discovers a rainbow wishing rock and wishes himself miniature alien friends. Of course, other kids get their hands on the rock, wishing for fortresses, therianthropy and genius babies, creating a fairly bland world of chaos, never vying for the obvious. Even Toe's parents (played by Leslie Mann and Jon Cryer) wind up fused as Siamese Twins as a result of the harebrained shenanigans. It is all a parable for the follies of instant gratification, with an overlying arc involving a technology-based company whose chief export is an all-in-one phone, television, computer, fan, toaster, and so on. The kids are apparently lonely because of their inability to reach out to folks in person, instead LOLing at folks online and orchestrating virtual meetings wherein grainy web cam photos of a person's genitals stand in for witticisms like "what's your sign?" It's a harmless message and film, spazzing out on a visceral level but never thinking outside of the box, working mainly as a Sunday afternoon diversion. Included with the Blu-Ray are a series of brief supplements, which discuss visual effects and simple film techniques, along with breezy interviews and an extended video of Robert Rodriguez baking cookies with his daughter. At least it wasn't a video of his cat doing something cute. (Warner)