Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events

Unfortunate Indeed

Cast: Jim Carrey, Emily Browning, Liam Aiken, Kara and Shelby Hoffman

Director: Brad Siberling

Cutely sinister, if there is a such a thing, could describe this little tale of three children placed in numerous instances of peril by a greedy monster after a huge inheritance. The children: Violet (Browning), Klaus (Aiken), and baby Sunny (Hoffman twins!), the inventor, sage, and biter, started out happy enough living in their mansion home. But one day, while they were out, the place burned down and their parents killed. They are taken in by one Count Olaf (Carrey), a strange actor who seemed merely eccentric in the beginning, but showed his true, darker colors later.

The rest of the plot consists of 1) the kids knocking around from one clueless (or insane) adult to another with Olaf trailing behind, and 2) the kids figuring out just who their parents were and what happened to their mansion home.

I must admit, I enjoyed the look and feel of the film. Mostly dark and twisted, or off-kilter in a colorful way, everything around the kids seemed to be out of control and touched with chaos. They, of course, represent order and harmony: other than a few exchanged words in a moment of danger, they got along and worked together, and Klaus at the end worked to save his sisters. The kids did a great job of being kids, although calmer and more intelligent than any normal their age, I guess circumstances forced them to grow up pretty quickly. With Carrey you know exactly what you’re going to get… over the top! Of course he has done a number of serious movies (which I enjoyed), but unfortunately this isn’t one of them. And the other actors generally either wildly overacted or were mere placeholders.

Would I recommend this one? I’m torn. With reservations. If you like your Carrey the “wild and crazy and springing around the place”, and the other adults overacting because this is a fantasy (and apparently can’t be taken seriously), then check it out. But the kids are good and the look and feel is good. But enough to save it? Not sure.

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