Zoom (PG)

Action/Adventure 83 August 11th, 2006
By Luke Y. Thompson
A sick feeling starts to set in the moment the opening credits announce “Songs by Smash Mouth,” and it doesn’t ease up much during the sub-superheroic antics that follow. Sky High already used the principal idea from Jason Lethcoe’s Zoom’s Academy books -- a Harry Potter-like school for superheroes located above the clouds -- so the movie proceeds to ignore the source material almost completely, relocating the action to a secret military installation known as Area 52 (that’s about as funny as it gets, folks). Tim Allen gamely brings some humanity to the role of the retired, powerless hero Captain Zoom, but is thwarted at every turn by bad special effects, slapdash editing, interminable pop-song montages, and a goofy performance by Courteney Cox. Zoom’s goal is to train four kids (Spencer Breslin, Kate Mara, Michael Cassidy, and Ryan Newman) to develop their powers in time to fight an oncoming supervillain, but the bad guy doesn’t even show up until the very end. Meanwhile, there’s product placement so egregious that one of the characters is actually named Mr. Pibb.
Peter Hewitt Tim Allen, Courteney Cox-Arquette, Chevy Chase, Kevin Zegers, Aaron Abrams, Kate Mara, Spencer Breslin, Rip Torn Adam Rifkin, David Berenbaum, Jason Lethcoe, Tim Allen, Matt Carroll Todd Garner, Jennifer Todd, Suzanne Todd Sony Pictures