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Goosebumps is the most fun I’ve had in a theater all year.

Jack Black plays real life kid’s horror writer R.L. Stine. He and teen daughter Hannah live in seclusion in an old white house. Zach and his mom are their new neighbor. For Hannah and Zach it’s like at first sight. Black, looking a lot like Truman Capote, does Stine as an overprotective dad and discourages contact.

One night Zach hears violent noises from Stine’s house and calls the police. Stine denies anything is wrong. The police believe him. Zach does not, calls his new friend Champ and they break into the house to rescue Hannah. The rescue causes the inadvertent release of all of Stine’s monster creations who are alive and kept under control in his original manuscripts.

Led by Stine’s most popular character, Slappy the Dummy, chaos ensues in Gremlin’s-like fashion as the creatures creatively trash the town and give chase to Stine, Zach, Hannah and Champ.

This film is a great “kids” movie that is a blast from opening note to the closing credits. Writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski who penned Big Eyes, Man on the Moon, Ed Wood and a couple of other classics, pack the movie with wonderfully funny lines that will have adults howling. Director Rob Letterman (Monsters Vs. Aliens) keeps kids glued to their seats with plenty of action, mayhem and slapstick.

Click here to see the trailer.

Director: Rob Letterman
Stars: Jack Black, Jack Black, Dylan Minette, Odeya Rush, Amy Ryan, Ryan Lee, Jillian Bell

Rated PG for mature themes. Average Joe rating: Cleverly creative chaos is packed with kicks for kids and adults and earns a 5 on my zero to 5 scale.

Click here for showtimes and theaters.

5 to 4 1/2: Must see on the big screen.
4 to 3 1/2: Good film, see it if it’s your type of movie.
3 to 2 1/2: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 to 1: Don’t bother.
0: Speaks for itself.

Gary Wolcott has been a movie consultant for KXL since 2014. A lifelong fan of film, he’s been a film critic in radio, television and newspaper for 25-years. Wolcott catches a couple of hundred movies a year and he sees a great many of them so you don’t have to.

Got a movie suggestion? Email him!

gary wolcott



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