'Surfer': Supersized Boredom

Friday, June 15, 2007

Hey, FTC! Wake up! Shouldn't some truth-in-advertising law require someone to rename "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" something like "Zzzzzzzz," or "(Yawn)" or what about "See paint dry!"? Isn't that your job?

Surely the dullest of Hollywood's many comic-book-derived summer movies, "Silver Surfer" is drearier than corn dying in the Iowa sun, slower than molasses in Antarctica. Sentient humans should stay away; all others may enter confident that their IQs are already in the Chernobyl-fried range and will not be affected, except for downward.

So many flaws, so little time. Hmmm, we could waste a few minutes on the total absence of chemistry between the dweebs and dweebette known as the Fantastic Four, and if you still want to go with "Fantastic," maybe there's a lawsuit in your future. Or maybe we could try to discern whose eyes are deader: poor Jessica Alba, who looks like she got a concussion on the field hockey meadow from some 300-pound hormonally confused midfielder with a grudge; or Michael Chiklis, laboring under 700 pounds of rock disguise. Or what about actual actor Ioan Gruffudd, hiding his Welsh gravitas behind a cheesy Yank accent as he affects the enthusiasms of a Real Smart Science Guy Who Turns to Rubber.

The movie has too much plot, not enough sense, no personality, action sequences that die wheezing and slobbering like an old dog, and nothing that isn't generic, stereotypical or without personality or vitality.

The movie is full of dud special effects. In one, Surfcreep loosens the big London Ferris wheel and our heroes have to weld it back in place before it dumps its load of bourgie Brits in the Thames. Welding! Now that's really exciting.

It's just second-tier the whole way. No action sequence or performance stands out, and the banal squabbling among the four grows annoying.

All in all, there is no all, there is no there, there is no is.

-- Stephen Hunter

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer PG, 92 minutes Contains mild violence and innuendo. Area theaters.

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