The Last Mimzy

Look what the tide dragged in.

Within the first half-hour of this family-style sci-fi adventure, hamburger is outed as "chopped-up cow," special toys are touted as educational tools, and our young-sibling heroes get their important mission. "The soul of our planet was sick," a grown-up instructs. "People had become isolated and warlike." Calling 10-year-old Noah Wilder and his little sister, Emma. Cute as buttons, natch, these kids are also gifted and talented—as well as privileged enough to have parents whose Pacific Northwest beach-house tide brings a black box even more awesome than Noah's prized PlayStation. Among other things, the box contains a seashell that sounds vaguely like the monolith in 2001, and a stuffed animal, Mimzy, who comes from the future looking for DNA info with which to save the human race. The Last Mimzy, whose charmingly retro FX date to around 1985, won't post Peter Jackson figures at the box office, but you can't say that New Line Cinema topper-turned-auteur Bob Shaye lacks the magic touch. It makes sense that the film's most inspired character—played by Rainn Wilson in a playful riff on Tolkienist dorkdom—is a guy who hits winning lottery tickets in his sleep.

 
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