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Running Time:
1 hour, 48 minutes

Rating: PG Parental Guidance Suggested.

Rating Explanation:
for thematic elements, scary situations and brief language.

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
Jim Carrey's playing is over-the-top as it often is, but this time it mostly works, in this delightfully zany entertainment that will charm all but the youngest children.

Additional Info:
DVD Features: Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events postcard booklet -- a Barnes & Noble exclusive; audio commentary with director Brad Silberling; commentary with Silberling and the real Lemony Snicket; "Building a Bad Actor," "Making the Baudelaire Children Miserable," and "Interactive Olaf" featurettes; 11 "Dismal Deletions" and 5 "Obnoxious Outtakes."

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events
After the death of their parents, the Baudelaire orphans are informed by the executor of their parents’ will that they are to be sent to live with their mysterious fourth-cousin-three-times-removed, the notoriously bad actor Count Olaf (Jim Carrey). Olaf, of course, has designs on the Baudelaire fortune, and engineers a number of schemes to bump the kids off. He's cruel in all the usual ways—forcing the children to do a series of tedious tasks every day before locking them in the attic at night, which makes the children begin plotting their escape. What follows is a series of, well, unfortunate events. Along the journey, the orphans have some interesting encounters with Mr. Poe (Timothy Spall), the executor of the Baudelaire estate, Uncle Monty (Billy Connolly), a herpetologist with a houseful of crawling snakes, and Aunt Josephine (Meryl Streep), who's always envisioning outrageous worst-case scenarios. The Baudelaire children are played by Emily Browning (Violet), our relatively unflappable young heroine, Liam Aiken (Klaus), her charming teenage brother, and Kara and Shelby Hoffman who take turns playing Sunny, the outspoken baby of the family. Jim Carrey's Olaf may actually be one of the more reserved characters he’s played in recent years, but no director has ever been 100% successful in suppressing his urge to overdo. As fun as it may be watching him struggling to restrain himself, he never projects any real menace since Count Olaf just isn’t that scary. There’s never any sense that the children are really that frightened of him, beyond their initial encounter, nor is there any real doubt that the orphans will get away from him at some point. Director Brad Silberling (City of Angels) gives the film an appropriately gloomy ambience with its Tim Burtonesque settings. Except for the times when the special effects are obvious, the cinematography and production design are hauntingly beautiful; the dark colors reminiscent of Edward Gorey drawings, but somehwat less interesting. The film is based on the first three books of Evan Handler's popular best sellers. It's never dull and it's often quite entertaining. You can be sure you'll see the further adventures of the Baudelaire children, from the pen of Lemony Snicket, to be coming along in a couple of years.

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