Mr Magoriums Wonder Emporium (U)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner12/12/2007

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 94 mins

There are a couple of nice ideas here but the film is unbearably twee in places and Hoffman's character begins to grate after a while.

What's it all about?
Directed by Zach Helm (who wrote Stranger Than Fiction), Mr Magoriums Wonder Emporium stars Dustin Hoffman as the 243-year-old proprietor of a magical New York toy shop. Realising that his days are drawing to a close, Mr Magorium intends to leave the shop to his pretty young assistant Molly (Natalie Portman), but Molly is resistant and plans to pursue her own dream of becoming a pianist.

Meanwhile, 9-year-old Eric (Zach Mills), the shop's most loyal customer, attempts to befriend pen-pushing accountant Henry (Jason Bateman), who has arrived to sort through 150 years of Mr Magorium's paperwork.

The Good
Both Jason Bateman and Zach Mills are superb – the gradually developing friendship between Henry and Eric is both more involving and more moving than the main story itself. Portman is good too, though Hoffman's eccentric performance begins to grate after a while. That said, it could have been worse – Mr Magorium could have been played by Robin Williams.

The Bad
The film takes a bit of a gamble in refusing to explain either Magorium himself or the source of the shop's magic. Unfortunately, it doesn't really pay off and the resulting message about needing to believe in the magic around you is even more vomit-inducing as a result.

The production design isn't imaginative enough to hold our attention (and it also has quite a lot of product placement for a supposedly magical toy shop) and the general atmosphere of the film is unbearably twee throughout. In addition, the script is nowhere near as funny nor as charming as it thinks it is.

Worth seeing?
In short, Mr Magoriums Wonder Emporium is something of a mixed bag, thanks to its enjoyable and moving sub-plot, but the overall result is disappointing.

Film Trailer

Mr Magoriums Wonder Emporium (U)
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Content updated: 20/07/2018 04:04

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