The Adventures of SharkBoy and LavaGirl in 3-D
For any other 7-year-old who invents a story about a boy who’s half-Jawsy and a girl who flings molten matter from her fingertips, Crayola would be medium enough to tell the tale. But Racer Max Rodriguez isn’t any other 7-year-old: His antic father, Robert Rodriguez, is a home-basement sorcerer. Bringing his boy’s doodles to life and adding the toothless adult advice never to give up on one’s dreams, Racer Max’s dad has created The Adventures of SharkBoy and LavaGirl in 3-D, a strenuously merry, digitally produced folly that cavorts weakly like a parent over-involved in his kid’s playtime.
Actually, Papa Rodriguez — also known as the director of Sin City and the more effortlessly charming Spy Kids series — would be quick to point out that SharkBoy is a family project, with kin popping up all over the credits. Indeed, that amateur quality is the look the movie is after. Adult actors David Arquette, Kristin Davis, and George Lopez bluster like big sillies, but they don’t stop Max (Cayden Boyd) from joining his mutant pals (boy-named Taylor Lautner as the one with the shark skills, girl-named Taylor Dooley as the other with the volcanic talents) as they scamper around on the planet Drool.
Cardboard 3-D glasses add a retro touch, never mind that 10 digital-effects companies shared the high-tech workload, including Rodriguez’s own Troublemaker Studios. Like choral singing and travel photography, this adventure is more fun for participants than it is for spectators.