Inspector Gadget (1999)

Genres - Children's/Family, Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Family-Oriented Comedy  |   Release Date - Jul 30, 1999 (USA)  |   Run Time - 80 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Derek Armstrong

Mouths must have watered when the idea came through Disney to do a live-action Inspector Gadget. TV shows hitting the big screen were plentiful, if not exactly hot, and the project promised ample opportunity for special effects and visual flare. The resulting movie is as slight an entertainment as they come, but it's also a pretty satisfying realization of the potential for a movie about a guy with a Swiss Army knife for a head. Matthew Broderick has fun with the title role, and Joely Fisher makes a refreshingly sarcastic heroine. But the real highlight is Rupert Everett, who plays Dr. Claw with an effeminate flare that only a gay actor could get away with. On TV, Claw was a faceless, unimaginative supervillain who spoke in a growl, but he's much more fun as a naughty Brit who slaps his underlings and responds to adversity with exaggerated gasps of horror. It's this kind of playfulness that dances through the movie, and with everyone having so much fun, the parodies and other cultural references that punch up the screenplay have a liveliness that's contagious. Plus, it doesn't hurt that the visuals look great, be it Gadget bounding down the sidewalk on 30-foot extended legs or flying up the side of a building courtesy of the helicopter rotors that spring from his hat. Look for other funny supporting performances from Andy Dick and D.L. Hughley, who plays the occasionally tiresome de rigeur sassy sidekick, in this case Gadget's talking car.