The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure
From the very first moments of this interactive theatrical release targeted to toddlers, the main trio of lifesize puppets — Goobie, Zoozie, and Toofie — starts appealing to the kids in the audience. They set up the rules of the Oogieloves experience: When you see the butterflies flitter around the screen, feel free to jump up, dance around, and join the fun. When the turtles make their way across the screen, return to your seats.
And then they are off, fully immersing the viewers in the colorful and silly world of Lovelyloveville. The Oogieloves are planning a party for their friend Schluffy, a pillow. But the magical balloons they got for him are accidentally released and they must go collect them. And kids are invited along for the adventure where they meet interesting characters, such as Toni Braxton as a rose-obssessed/rose-allergic diva, Chazz Palminteri as an Elvis-like shake shop owner, and Cloris Leachman as a circle-loving grandma living in a tree. There are no villains in this movie but there’s lots of suspense and problem solving involved in retrieving the balloons.
There are points early on when the movie feels like a TV show (the producer’s pedigree includes Teletubbies and Thomas the Tank Engine), but that can be a good thing for kids as the pacing is familiar. Though clocking in at 83 minutes, it may be a tad too long and the last 15 minutes seem to drag out. The call-and-response strategy works very well to engage young children and the silly songs are sure to stick in your head. Parents who have had to sit through a myriad of mindless kids movies will appreciate a chance for their kids to be themselves at the theater and to be silly right alongside them. On the whole, it can serve as a good introduction to the movie-going experience. A-