Picks and Pans Review: Recess: School's Out

updated 02/26/2001 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/26/2001 AT 01:00 AM EST

Animated

Talk about pandering to your audience: Recess: School's Out shamelessly courts its target viewers (6-to 12-year-olds) by coming out solidly in favor of summer vacations and against extending the school year. Shouldn't Congress look into this the next time it investigates Hollywood's influence on kids? What if the sequel advocates a ban on serving mystery meat in school cafeterias?

Educational policy debates aside, this spin-off film from the Saturday-morning TV cartoon Disney's Recess is an anemic offering. It features intrepid 10-year-old classmates who must foil a conniving villain (voiced by James Woods) who's attempting to build a giant gizmo that will zap the moon and change its orbital path, thus changing weather patterns and getting rid of summer and, ergo, summer vacation. Or something like that. The animation is flat and uninspired, just like the plot and dialogue. Kids who are fans of the TV show will no doubt sit there contentedly if their popcorn tub is big enough, but accompanying parents will be wishing everybody were out on the playground playing kickball. (G)

Bottom Line: Detention for all concerned

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