Shorts (PG)

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The Independent Culture

Robert Rodriguez's new children's film, Shorts, shows what happens when a rainbow-coloured wish-granting rock falls from space and lands in sunny suburbia. It's the perfect excuse for Rodriguez to fill the screen with everything that youngsters might want to see: flying saucers, crocodiles, and a monster made out of snot, to name a few. There's also some inspired wit. Even Roald Dahl would have been pleased with a villainous girl named Helvetica Black.

As ever, Rodriguez is better at coming up with ideas than knowing what to do with them. He crams in the flying saucers at random, whether they serve the narrative or not. For instance, why bring in an all-purpose mega-iPhone, only to leave it as a red herring? It's as if Dahl had mentioned Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory and then had Charlie running around town with his friends instead.