Set in Black Hills, a Texan neighbourhood overshadowed by Black Box - a company that produces an all-in-one product (it can change to a toaster to a mobile phone to a TV – whatever you want) – a magical rainbow-coloured rock falls from the sky and grants wishes to all who touch it. Toe Thompson (Bennet) is the first kid to get his hands on the rock, wishing for friends as odd and unique as him; Toe is bullied by Mr Black's (Spader) kids – Helvetica (Jolie Vanier) and Cole (Devon Gearhart) – and wants his new friends of tiny flying saucers (reminiscent of *batteries not included) to protect him. The rock then falls into the hands of Loogie (Trevor Gagnon), who wishes for his own fortress (complete with moat); trouble arises when the crocodiles he's wished for to protect the fortress get their hands on the rock and start making wishes themselves. Then there's Nose (Jake Short), whose father (William H. Macy) forbids him to leave the house in case of a germ attack, who gets the rock and winds up battling a giant version of his own snot (popcorn is not advised during this sequence). In the background, Toe's parents (Mann and Cryer) are battling it out to impress boss Mr Black with their latest black box upgrade. All these stories hurtle towards a major showdown on the streets of Black Hills.
The five stories, narrated by Toe, are told out of sequence, which gives the crazy happenings a wackier zeal. Anything can happen (and usually does) in this movie, with Rodriquez not sweating plot or how tenuously he's tied in the vignettes. Sense and reality have no place here. Neither do decent special effects – the CGI is the cheesiest on show in some time. That won't matter to the age group Shorts is pitched at and kids should gobble up the screwball action. Adults should bring some Asprin, however. Or a hipflask.
Review by Gavin Burke | 09:00 | Friday 21st August 2009 | Movie Review
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