Every so often a film comes out that absolutely defies explanation. This doesn’t mean that a problem cannot be found—because with “Toys” the problem is obvious– but instead everything appeared to be in order for an forthright success. It all seemed to make perfect sense; a Christmastime release that is staged in a toy factory should have been, if not a slam dunk, at least an assuredly profitable lay-up. Now factor in that this was created by a Hollywood player fresh off an Oscar win, stars an established comedic star with a box office track record, and is layered with attractive production values, and this film had all the earmarks of a “can’t-fail” production.

However, this yuletide release was a theatrical lump of coal, with audiences avoiding it the same way a Kosher vegan steers clear of the Christmas ham. What becomes most confusing is that this was a long-proposed idea from the successful mind of Barry Levinson, a man with a string of impressive films, from “Diner” through “Good Morning VietNam”, and the man who nabbed The Statue for directing “Rain Man”. Barry used that Oscar clout to launch a project that had been percolating in the back of his creative mind for some time, and yet he managed to deliver a gift to the viewing public that was received about as well as a box of thermal underwear unwrapped by a child with ADHD.

The story continues in part two of MILK CARTON CINEMA: “TOYS”>>>

Posted on August 18, 2004 in Features by

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