You know I could have written about how bad Batman and Robin were, but instead, we’re going to be talking about this today. Doesn’t that sound fun?
Following the trend of my friends putting bad movies in my lap to look at, Gooby is a comedy fantasy drama written and directed by Wilson Coneybeare. Released in 2009, the film stars Robbie Coltrane as the voice of Gobby, a living teddy bear, and Matthew Knight as Willy, a middle school child who is afraid of moving into his new house.
If there is one word to describe this movie, it would be confused. Despite being called a comedy, the first half of this movie seems to try to be scary with pacing and imagery reminiscent of your standard horror movie. Not to mention the huge uncanny valley present with the title character. The costume is poorly made, and any sort of fun expressions severely lack due to its design aside from any minor movement of the eyes and the eyebrows. Gooby’s voice is also noticeably disconnected from the face, which contributes to the character feeling so out of place compared to the human characters. It’s a real shame since Robbie Coltrane is quite talented, but that suit doesn’t his voice work any justice at all.
Of course, with a movie like this, his talents are also wasted on a very poor storyline. Or, really, a real lack of any driving conflict. Any sort of drama takes place in the third act, and it only lasts for a total of 7 to 10 minutes at best. Now for a fantasy film aiming for a slice of life approach (If that was even the intent, to begin with), that approach could have been acceptable. However, what is unforgivable for this movie is the absence of any sort of comedic wit or charm. You’ve seen these jokes in other fantasy movies with this type of premise (Think to E.T. or The Iron Giant, for instance, which this movie makes a pretty blatant reference towards), and they were also done much better in those movies. I don’t remember laughing at any point because this film attempts comedy, and rather all the potential ways this movie could have been more uncanny than it already was.
I can’t even say that whatever sort of plot is there with Gooby isn’t you’re typical family-friendly fantasy flick. The parents who aren’t there to spend time with their son. The kid who can’t fit in his new home or school. The goofy, mystical friend who shows him how to live his life to the fullest. The awkward crazy guy who wants to expose the secret (Which is poorly kept regarding this film). Guess the trope, and you will likely find it here. And even worse is that the film does nothing new with these tropes or even handles them well. And with how directionless Gooby is already, it makes for what amounts to a tedious watch.
What was shocking to me about Gooby is its release date. Despite having come out in 2009, this movie feels like it came straight out of the 1990s. And not in the good, nostalgic throwback kind of way either. The film looks cheap, and any scene involving any use of special effects or green-screen looks hilariously bad (This movie was shot on a budget of $6.5 million. Of which I don’t know what it was used for in full). For something released in theaters, the poor production values become clearer and serve as a huge determinant to the film.
It’s tough to think of a positive for something that is poorly written and produced, but I suppose that the performances from the actors are decent. All of the cast seems like they’re doing the best with the material they’re working with. And I’ll admit that from the outset, I can why Robbie Coltrane was cast as Gobby. There is a warm, charming aspect of his vocal performance that could work well and be fun to watch onscreen if everything else about this film wasn’t so bottom of the barrel.
In a fun twist of irony, for a film that is meant to be heart-warming and fun for the family and especially kids, this movie is more of a source of unintentional nightmare fuel than anything else. There is nothing worth of value with this film with such poor direction, script-writing, and production values. Not even in the sense that it’s so bad it’s good. Gooby just makes for a rather boring, and at times creepy experience. You’re better off skipping this one.
Final Rating: 0.5/5
And now, with this out of the way, next time, we’ll look at another movie that filled my childhood memories for all the wrong reasons.