Mr. Magoo [1997]

Director: Jingle Ma, Stanley Tong
Stars: Leslie Nielsen, Kelly Lynch, Ernie Hudson, Matt Keeslar, Malcolm McDowell
Genre: Family, Comedy, Adventure
Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Runtime: 88 minutes

This 1962 special marked the last hurrah of Mr. Magoo, who starred in 43 cartoon shorts, including two OscarĀ® winners, from the UPA Studio between 1949 and 1959. Magoo appears as Scrooge in a Broadway production of "A Christmas Carol" in this minimally animated hour. The play-within-the-show features forgettable songs by Jules Styne and Bob Merrill: Tiny Tim ("played" by the animated character Gerald McBoing-Boing) sings, oddly, of "razzle berry dressing" and "woofle jelly cake." This retelling of Dickens's holiday standard is much tamer than Richard Williams's Oscar-winning adaptation: the ghosts aren't scary, nor does Magoo confront the specters of Ignorance and Want. Small children who might be frightened by more dramatic versions of the story will enjoy this mild program. And the self-satisfied chuckles and bromides Jim Backus gives Magoo in his lighter moments remain as delightful as ever. This film is suitable for ages 6 and older. --Charles Solomon

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