GNOMEO & JULIET
screenplay by Kelly Asbury & Mark Burton & Kevin Cecil & Emily Cook & Kathy Greenberg & Andy Riley & Steve Hamilton Shaw, based on an original screenplay by John R. Smith & Rob Sprackling
directed by Kelly Asbury
starring Ed Helms, John C. Reilly, Anne Heche, Sigourney Weaver
screenplay by Phil Johnston
directed by Miguel Arteta
by Ian Pugh Gnomeo & Juliet is pretty much exactly the movie you'd expect from one of the directors of Shrek 2. On the bright side, it's also a little bit more. In this latest iteration of Shakespeare's timeless classic, Montague and Capulet are a couple of pensioners living on Verona Drive whose lawn gnomes spring to life every now and then to wage war on each other. The lad and lass of the title (voiced by James McAvoy and Emily Blunt) meet from opposite sides and fall in love, and so on and so forth. As you may have already guessed, Gnomeo & Juliet makes room for its cutesy puns and pop-culture references by robbing "Romeo & Juliet"'s premise of all emotional heft: the warring tribes have no sense of familial bond, which renders the central romance completely weightless; and it's all performed with an absolute minimum amount of bloodshed, culminating in, yes, a happy ending. It's tempting to cry anti-intellectualism until one considers the film's predominantly British cast--after all, hasn't British culture earned the right to make self-deprecating jokes about Shakespeare's influence? (It just feels right knowing that Michael Caine and Maggie Smith are leading the charge in this gnome war--though Jason Statham voicing an angry, Napoleonic Tybalt sounds more subversive than it actually plays.) In fact, the film's generally cavalier attitude towards "unassailable" literature gives the impression that it was trying to piss someone off, what with most of the loathing and introspection replaced by the requisite noisy action sequences.