Picks and Pans Review: Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium

updated 11/26/2007 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/26/2007 AT 01:00 AM EST

Dustin Hoffman, Natalie Portman | G |

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Every time I am unkind in print about a kids' movie, Fred, my 7-year-old consultant on the genre, tells me, "You are a bad reviewer. You don't know what kids like." (I do too: pratfalls and fart jokes.) He has me so cowed, I'm bestowing two stars on this lackluster lump of whimsy, mostly because it's neither mean-spirited nor frightening and has few pratfalls and no farting. The plot: Mr. Magorium (Hoffman), wacky owner of a magical toy store, urges his reluctant assistant (Portman) to take over the shop. She must first learn to believe in herself—a process that drags on and on—making Magorium seem longer than its 94 minutes. Hoffman is pure ham here, wiggling his bushy eyebrows as if auditioning to be Cap'n Crunch.

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