Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004, USA) C-108m. ** D: Brad Silberling. Starring Jim Carrey, Liam Aiken, Emily Browning, Kara and Shelby Hoffman, Timothy Spall, Catherine O'Hara, Billy Connolly, Meryl Streep, Luis Guzmán, Jamie Harris, Craig Ferguson, Jennifer Coolidge, Jane Adams, Cedric the Entertainer, Dustin Hoffman, voice of Jude Law. Three remarkable children become orphans when their house burns down and their parents die in the flames. From then on, weird uncle Olaf tries to become their guardian to steal their inheritance. Adaptation of the books by Daniel Handler (writing as Lemony Snicket) retains the weirdness and dark humor but ultimately remains rather lifeless and undramatic. Also the title should have been A SERIES OF UNLIKELY OR UNPLEASANT EVENTS. If this looks like Tim Burton worked on it, it's because Emmanuel Lubezki shot it and Rick Heinrichs designed it. This has interesting parallels to Jerry Lewis' THE FAMILY JEWELS (1965).

© Ron Altman