Inspector Gadget showcases a convincingly geeky Matthew Broderick as an inept security guard who gets transformed into a gizmo-loaded, half-android crime fighter. You may wonder if ”Gadget”’s three writers were using some type of Storybuilder software, seeing as how they have utilized the same old plot conventions seen in action-adventure flicks since time immemorial.
* EVIL ARCHVILLAINS Gadget’s foe is the one-handed ”Claw” (Rupert Everett), a megalomaniacal tycoon who wants to borrow Gadget’s bionic technology to create a robo-race that can conquer the world.
* DISTRESSED DAMSELS ”Gadget” has Joely Fisher as the doctor who rebuilt the Inspector and is now helping him catch the villain who murdered her scientist father.
* POP CULTURE IN-JOKES ”Gadget” has a Bond homage — a cameo appearance by Richard ”Jaws” Kiel — as well as countless other bits that try to cop a cheap laugh by sampling somebody else’s famous movie moment.
* SUPER-KEEN ACCESSORIES Honoring his animated origins, Gadget sports a different tool in every finger, arms and legs that elongate, and, oh yes, shoes that shoot fireworks — but only when he’s, um, in love.
* PLANES, TRAINS, AUTOMOBILES Gadget rides in a computerized car that talks an annoying, KITT-like blue streak.
The plot of ”Gadget” doesn’t develop, the characters don’t develop, the MOVIE doesn’t develop. It just lunges forward, en route to a not-so-grand finale, during which all that gadgetry blows up real good. And that’s how a seemingly foolproof high concept became just another big, dumb movie that, on video, doesn’t retain any of its bigness.