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a/perture cinema, the Official Movie Sponsor of The Less Desirables, presents The Less Desirables Movie of the Week, Toys (1992), starring Robin Williams, Michael Gambon, LL Cool J and Joan Cusack.Toys_poster

Per IMDb: “When a military general inherits a toy making company and begins making war toys, his employees band together to stop him before he ruins the name of Zevo Toys forever.”

Kenneth Zevo is dying. He has two children Alsatia (Cusack) and Leslie (Williams) who have basically “grown up” in the toy factory that Kenneth has spent his life making. The workers are happy, the facility is a happy place, all is well. As Kenneth is about to leave the Earth, he asks his 3-star general brother, General Leland Zevo (Gambon) to take over the company. Leland is apprehensive. He’s serious and “Kenny” is a fun-loving free spirit who made a fortune making toys. Why not give the company to his children? Kenneth thinks they’re too childish to run a business.

Leland, desperate to win the approval of his elderly father, who was a 4-star general and played by Jack Warden, and seeks said approval in taking over Kenneth’s company. The old man tells him to make up his own mind. He takes over the company and is bored out of his mind until he hears that there’s a leak in toy designs. That sends him back into full military mode. He decides he wants to find the leak and enlists the help of his military son, Patrick (LL Cool J). In that Leland decides to start making miniature war toys to be sold to the government. Leslie is dead set against the idea because he knows his father would have also been against it. Leland says he won’t make any but can he have a tiny bit of space to make is own toys? Does he get it? Does he make war toys? You’ll have to watch to find out.

I saw this film when I was about 21 in the theater. I liked the fantasy and whimsy of it. I have to say that watching it now some 25 years later, it has lost a good bit of that luster. There’s good and bad here. The good: the cast, the scenery (mostly sound stages but great nonetheless), the ambition. The bad: the story line is dated and weak for even 1992, no direction, lack of actual comedy. With this cast, Williams is kind of sedate and even when he’s breaking loose he’s almost forcing the character to come out. Michael Gambon is a long way from his role in The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover previously and as the second Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series. He was unrecognizable but he was good. LL Cool J was pretty good. I think the real star here is Joan Cusack; she played the best part. But, while the film was funny in parts, it was, like Williams’ portrayal, forced and a bit weak.

I was disappointed in the overall film as it wasn’t what I remembered it to be, but there was still a nostalgia that was keeping me watching. I just wanted to see it, I guess. Rotten Tomatoes has it at a lowly 26% Rotten, with an audience score of a slightly better 39%. IMDb has it at 5 stars out of 10; exactly 50%. I saw this on Netflix and, sadly, I have to rate it only a straight up 3.0 out of 5 which on a scale from 0-5 would also be right down the middle. Have you seen it? What did you think? What would you like to read/hear me review? Let me know.

Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
Scorp out!

“We’re going to fight fire with marshmallows.” – Leslie Zevo