The film opens with images from the comicbook, with a voiceover prepping us for the pain we’re about to experience. Tim Allen is Jack, a mechanic and former leader of Team Zenith (I won’t even bother explaining what that means). After a new Zenith is formed, Chevy Chase’s Dr. Grant bribes Jack into teaching a new batch of outcasts, in further attempts at career-suicide.
Okay…so why would these kids want to be taught by Jack? He’s an unshaven (and we can only assume alcohol-dependent) wreck. Allen looks like a strung-out ex-con…aka 1978 Tim Allen.
His first students have been brought into the Zenith Project after being spied on by Rip Torn—good luck getting your kids to sleep tonight! There is Cindy (Ryan Newman), the youngest, who plays the “Listen to how adorable my lisp is” card too often and seems to be suffering from some sort of adolescent identity crisis, insisting she be given a Superhero name. Then there’s Spencer Breslin, the other kid with a speech impediment (and brother to Abigail--quite obvious who got the talent in the Breslin household.) Tucker’s power for those still reading: he can inflate his body parts.
I don’t know about you, but when I think of superpower, I think of invisibility (like Michael Cassidy’s Dylan/Houdini) or the aforementioned superstrength--there’s little heroic about a pre-teen weight problem. And finally, the uber-cute Summer (Kate Mara), who has telekinetic powers (think Carrie, only less homely), who is involved in the obligatory teenage romance with Dylan.
At first, Jack the minimum-wage mechanic is in it for the $500,000 Dr. Grant offered him. Then, the script inexplicably makes Jack warm up to the kids. And then he delivers the film’s moral: it’s okay to be different. Snoooozzzeeeeee. But what about Jack’s superpower? After all, before he started collecting monkey wrenches, he was the leader of Team Zenith. Since you begged, I’ll reveal it: Speed, hence his superhero name, Captain Zoom. He demonstrates this by vibrating his finger, which could easily destroy San Francisco. Why Courteney Cox’s character didn’t want Zoom in her pants from the get-go remains a mystery…lesbian, maybe?
The kiddies who dug Jimmy Neutron and Sky High are bound to find the snot and fart jokes funny, and will likely have milk shooting from their noses. Zoom’s idea of comedy involves a running “joke” with Cox’s character being overly clumsy, snot being blown on Chase’s face, and montages set to Smash Mouth. That’s the basis for what to expect in Zoom (that and the most shameful product placement since Mac & Me).
In the closing credits outtakes Allen points out, “We were funnier on TV.” Ya hit the Binford nail on the head with that one, Toolman.
Bringing Sperheroes to Life: The Making of Zoom (14:30): Just your average interview-laced Making of featurette with a cast that has nothing to say. But Courteney Cox is smokin'!