The original Inspector Gadget TV series might not be the least inspired source material ever to have been turned into a big-budget movie, but it's in the upper one percentile or so. A shrill, badly animated, one-joke kiddie show, and a shameless Get Smart rip-off to boot, the original Inspector Gadget might not appear to be a good starting point for a summer blockbuster. But the good folks at Disney, having co-opted every reasonably well-known children's entity this side of Lancelot Link, apparently think highly enough of the character to base an obscenely expensive movie around him. Clearly a labor of love for absolutely no one involved, Inspector Gadget stars a bland Matthew Broderick as the title character, a bumbling but good-hearted security guard turned into a gadget-enhanced detective following a freak accident. A severely slumming but still impressive Rupert Everett co-stars as Broderick's arch-nemesis, an evil billionaire amputee eager to steal the gadget technology so he can build armies of killer androids. Expanding on the original show's one-joke premise—Gadget was a bumbling oaf constantly bailed out by his more sensible niece—to encompass a dozen different one-joke premises lazily tied together, Inspector Gadget is, like most effects extravaganzas, an exercise in expensive special effects for the sake of special effects. Like the similarly loud, abrasive, and soul-crushingly uninspired My Favorite Martian, Inspector Gadget seems to have been made solely because it could get made. Bad-idea auteur David Kellogg, best known for the Vanilla Ice vehicle Cool As Ice, keeps things shiny, fast, and mercifully brief enough to keep Inspector Gadget from sinking into Baby Geniuses territory, but anyone older than eight is likely to find it a ridiculously extravagant exercise in stupidity.
More from The A.V. Club