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FIRST-PERSON: It’s cornball and silly, but Jimmy Neutron is fun

McMINNVILLE, Ore. (BP)–“Harry Potter” and “The Lord of the Rings” might be hogging the headlines, and the lion’s share of box office receipts, but for this parent a little boy with a big I.Q. is the man of the hour.

“Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius” opened in theaters the last week of December and according to ACINielson EDI is thus far holding its own with its much more hyped, and costly to produce, competition. Over the long haul, “Jimmy” might not make as much money as “Potter” or “Rings”, but it is a silly, safe movie families can attend together.

Admittedly, I am not a movie hound and at best I am an armchair critic. I deem most of what passes for cinematic entertainment these days as unworthy of my time and money. What will draw me into a theater is a film that takes the culture by storm or a wholesome movie my entire family can enjoy.

When seemingly “everyone” in the world is attending a movie, curiosity will cause me to slip into a theater to see what the attraction might be. As a student of culture I am always fascinated by what achieves the status of “popular” and/or “entertaining.” More times than not I am disappointed by foul language, sophomoric innuendo, or gratuitous sex and violence.

On occasion I do enjoy an outing to a movie theater with my family. I say “on occasion” because with six in our family [four under the age of 11] we have to take out a loan to afford the full cinematic experience. Tickets and the obligatory popcorn — just try herding four kids through a theater lobby without them begging for those fresh popped buttery kernels — are a costly endeavor even when attending the afternoon matinee.

Periodically a movie like “Jimmy Neutron” comes along. It is geared completely to kids with a not so subtle message about family.

The animated film’s main character, Jimmy, is an unusually bright 10-year old with a penchant for creating odd, ill-fated inventions. When he and two friends disobey their parents and sneak-out to attend a theme park’s opening night, trouble begins.

Free from the watchful eyes of parents the kids have a night of unrestrained fun, which prompts them to imagine what life would be like without their guardians. They don’t have to wait long to find out. While enjoying their night on the town, aliens invade and abduct all of their parents. Initially, a note left by the crafty aliens indicating all the parents took a quick trip to Florida satisfies the kids. The children revel in their newfound freedom.

The kids eat and play to excess. However, in no time they are longing for the security and structure offered by their parents. Led by Jimmy, the boy genius, the kids realize the true fate of their parents. They launch a successful rescue mission and are re-united with their parents. Having gained a new perspective on the role of parents in their lives, the kids of Retroville now happily respond to their parent’s authority.

When I asked my kids if they thought there was a lesson in “Jimmy Neutron,” in essence they replied, “No matter how smart kids think they are, they need their parents and they should listen to them.”

“Potter” and “Rings” might be more sophisticated and more hyped, but I appreciate the straightforward message conveyed in “Jimmy Neutron.” Though the movie is cornball and silly, the message is clear, parents really do know best.

    About the Author

  • Kelly Boggs