Debuting on Nickelodeon in 2003, "My Life as a Teenage Robot" follows the escapades of Jenny, a super-powered robot with a super sensitive teenage heart. Her primary function is protecting ... See full summary »
Don't leave the wrapper on the Twonkie when microwaving!
You know, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Before you say, "nay, Andy, this is just something our mothers would say to stop us from eating too many cookies", I would ask you to listen. Recently I had the opportunity to enjoy the animated film Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius and was pleasantly surprised. In fact, the crisp animation with zany characters kept my attention for the short hour and a half that it played. It was the perfect film to accompany a lazy afternoon. Like a salesman, it hooked me to watching more of what this brainiac had to offer. I wanted to go to further distant lands, I wanted to allow my imagination to rocket into space, and I wanted to be a kid again and save the galaxy from anything that poised a threat. I thought, ahem, that Jimmy Neutron would be that dark horse (you know, the series that you never want to mention to your friends) that gave me that giddy pleasure. Before you read further, I would like to redirect you back to my original thought, "Is there too much of a good thing?" I would like to answer that in this review for Jimmy Neutron: The Attack of the Twonkies. Upon watching about 104 more minutes of my little genius, I found the answer to be a very big "yes". Obviously, the film had more of a budget than the smaller television episodes, which ultimately hurt my perception of a once excited concept. The point: Jimmy Neutron does not translate well to the small screen, unless you like cheap animation, annoying characters, and pitiful plots.
Upon staying with the theme of "too much of a good thing", we are bombarded with forced previews on this DVD before any and all viewings of the series. Once we finally sleep our way through those, we are silently handed the feature episode, "Attack of the Twonkies". In this episode, Neutron and friends battle plagiarism as we witness a retelling of Gremlins for children (substitute water/food for music). Nothing surprising, alas, nothing smart, and disappointingly, nothing funny. Originality seemed to be forgotten, as our heroes from the film step through the same patterns they did for us before. The jokes were stale and old, while Jimmy seemed more needy than friendly. The only aspect of this episode worth viewing is, my personal favorite creation, Jimmy's dad and ventriloquist dreams. One can only laugh when he demonstrates how to have the dummy speak while he drinks a glass of water. Ug, within twenty minutes the episode had gone too far and for too long.
Hoping for better (though the headlining episode left me with no element of desire), I watched the remaining three episodes with still the feeling of "too much of a good thing" deep within my gut. Always needing to go back into space, Jimmy clones himself for chores in the second episode entitled, "Send in the Clones", but alas, Jimmy doesn't do a successful follow-through and the clones wreak havoc all through Retroville. Decently dark ending, but getting to the final moments seemed like the show should have been called "Jimmy Neutron: Filler until the Finale". I didn't find myself laughing once, as the jokes were blow even the standards of "Twonkies". Then, we are escorted rapidly into "A Beautiful Mine". Title indicates perhaps a segway into a spin-off of the film title, but alas, it was not. Thus understanding that Jimmy constantly "needs" things, he and cronies, travel to an asteroid to become millionaires. Perhaps this could have been saved if the animation didn't make me feel like I was playing a new release on my Turbo Graphics 16. Then, as if the plagiarism from the first feature wasn't enough, we get a boring retelling of "Boy Who Cried Wolf" in the episode, "Junkman Cometh". It isn't set up well for first time watchers of the series as we are introduced to a faux-Neutron brother that somehow made it to space. He cries wolf, they run, the jokes on nobody, then it all goes downhill from there I think we know how this one turns out. Arg, this will be over soon.
I would like to restate that there is such a thing as "too much of one singular thing" and that just happens to be Jimmy Neutron. While I did find myself enjoying the feature film, these small snippets of episodes just didn't make the cut. They smeared a good thing all over the wall and never looked back. The episodes were nothing more than recycled bits of better shows (or stories or films), and there was no real climax or dilemma. Jimmy, as I noticed in these episodes, is a poor role model. He was great in the film, but in the television series he seemed pushy, rude, and very needy. Sure, he is smart, but in these four episodes, he felt snobbish instead of humble. The only element I loved was his father, whose bumbling behavior gave me a welcomed rest to my furrowed brow. I cannot suggest this series, and in fact, I will not be watching any smaller screen versions of Jimmy Neutron unless forced by violence. I don't recommend this to children or adults, as it would put them to sleep instead of filling them with laughter. There were no lessons to be learned that couldn't be found in other programs. I am disappointed with this outing and expected better with Oedekerk behind the wheel. The tantalizing visuals from the film didn't make it to the small screen and we, the audience, pay for it. Maybe if Jimmy went elsewhere than "outer space" than my perception would change but alas, I don't see that happening in the future.
Jimmy can be a smart boy, if he applies himself. Obviously, his brain has had too much "of a good thing".
Grade: ** out of *****
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