Picks and Pans Review: Fantastic Four

updated 07/18/2005 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/18/2005 01:00AM

Ioan Gruffudd, Chris Evans, Jessica Alba, Michael Chiklis, Julian McMahon

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When a group of superheroes is collectively known as the Fantastic Four, it would help if at least one of 'em could live up to the name. Instead, in this pedestrian effort based on the Marvel Comics series, we get the Fatuous Four. They prattle on and on, discussing pseudoscientific matters and their feelings about their newly gained powers—the result of an accident in outer space—to the point that even Dr. Phil would grow bored. Leader Reed Richards (Gruffudd) can stretch like taffy; Sue Storm (Alba) can become invisible and cast force fields; her brother Johnny Storm (Evans) can ignite himself and fly; and Ben Grimm (Chiklis) transforms permanently into a grunting Hulk-like creature known as The Thing. Even as they save New Yorkers from various disasters, the quartet must battle an evil corporate king (McMahon).

It's all pointless and uninvolving, unless perhaps you're a 14-year-old boy. Put the FF up against the recent movie incarnations of Batman or Spider-Man and they'd fade right into the screen—which is pretty much what they do here. (PG-13)

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