If I had three wishes this summer, they would be: No more dreadful children’s movies, no more dreadful children’s movies, no more dreadful children’s movies.
If Shaquille O’Neal, who stars as a genie in the dreadful children’s movie, “Kazaam,” had three wishes, they would probably be: I wish I hadn’t made this shrill clunker, I wish David Robinson would stop stealing all my thunder on the Dream Team and I wish the profoundly obnoxious child who co-stars with me in “Kazaam” would suck himself into a bottle and disappear.
The Don Rickles-esque child is Francis Capra, easily the most charmless young actor since - ever. The spectacle of a little white kid ordering around a muscular black man who is identified as his “slave” is discomfiting enough, but we also get this brat mouthing-off to parents, teachers and firemen. In one scene, for Pete’s sake, the kid is brought back from the dead, and the first thing he does is complain.
The special effects are bogus (in the age of exploding White Houses, flying French toast just won’t cut it). And the movie wastes a lot of time on an extraneous record-piracy subplot that will appeal to children about as much as tax annuities or Brussels sprouts. But mostly “Kazaam” is just a pathetic stringing-together of the things Shaq wanted to do in a movie: practice martial arts, slam dunk a bad guy and, God help us, rap.
Shaq’s lame-o rapping has not improved since the pokey, extremely un-fly record he recorded with the rap group Fu Schnickens. It doesn’t help that the lyrics he’s given are awful crap-rap.
O’Neal’s sweetness was the highlight of last year’s basketball drama, “Blue Chips,” but the best that can be said for him in “Kazaam” is that he doesn’t make it worse.
xxxx “KAZAAM” Locations: Lincoln Heights, North Division and Showboat cinemas. Credits: Directed by Paul Michael Glaser, starring Shaquille O’Neal Running time: 1:30 Rating: PG