Rebel Rodriguez (left) and Trevor Gagnon look good in Shorts.
SHORTS (Robert Rodriguez). 89 minutes. Opens Friday (August 21). For venues, times, and trailers, see Movies. Rating: NNN
Shorts finds splatter auteur Robert Rodriguez trading in grown-up gore for family-friendly mayhem along the lines of his Spy Kids trilogy.[rssbreak]
It's the tale of a wish-granting space rock that lands in a suburban neighbourhood and bestows unlimited power on those who possess it. In a series of short, interconnected episodes, characters ranging from 11-year-old bully-magnet Toby "Toe" Thompson (Jimmy Bennett) to James Spader's slimy corporate honcho face the unintended consequences of their wishes.
Shorts unfolds in non-linear fashion, and kids may find the temporal shifts confusing, but Rodriguez's visual flair and creature creations - which include little aliens, a giant man-eating booger and a posse of bipedal crocodiles - will keep them interested.
Grown-ups will enjoy watching Spader, William H. Macy, Jon Cryer and Leslie Mann put a campy spin on their usual film personas, as well as Rodriguez's clever mockery of our gadget-obsessed society.