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The Box Office Makes a Monkey of "Speed Racer"

POSTED:

Holy bad box office! Chim-Chim the chimp has a right to go bonkers. OK, no one really expected Speed Racer to beat Iron Man, still selling like $50 million worth of platinum in its second week. But to see the brainchild of Andy and Larry Wachowski in a photo finish for second with romcom crap like What Happens in Vegas is just effing depressing. Look, I felt Speed Racer couldn't find the human touch that would make its visual pyrotechnics stick. Even Chim-Chim, who hangs with Speed's younger brother Spritle, mugs way beyond the call of chimp duty. But the Wachowskis are real filmmakers. Watching them, even when they fail (see the conclusion of The Matrix trilogy), is far more edifying an experience than enduring Cameron Diaz shrieking at Ashton Kutcher for two enervating hours. So why did Speed Racer hit the wall? The know-it-alls give these reasons:

— Marketing the PG movie to kids turned off anyone past puberty.

— Animated TV shows almost always suck as movies.

— All the Speed Racer toys and action figures came off as overkill.

Fill in your own reasons why audiences stayed away. I'm interested in the movie itself. Now that you've had a chance to see Speed Racer and maybe see past the pounding reviews, is there anything good you have to say about it? Are there any places where you think the Wachowskis went right?

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Peter Travers

Rolling Stone senior writer Peter Travers has reviewed movies for the magazine for more than 20 years. Send your comments and questions to him here.

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