Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events (PG)

Written by Daniel Handler and Robert Gordon, Directed by Brad Silberling
On general release from 17th December 2004

Reviewed by Adam Ford

Violet Baudelaire (Emily Browning) is a genius fourteen-year-old inventor. Her younger brother Klaus (Liam Aiken) knows the secrets of every book in the library. And baby sister Sunny? Well…she likes to bite things. Together they live a happy life in their parents’ spooky-looking mansion, at least until both the mansion and the parents are burnt to cinders in a mysterious fire. So the kids are packed off to live with Count Olaf (Jim Carrey) – an eccentric distant relative who has designs on the Baudelaire fortune.

If you’re the kid who sits muttering to yourself in classroom corners whilst drawing pictures of spiders, and if you get called “that weird one” a lot, then forget Harry Potter, this is the film for you. I mean what else are you going to do? Listen to your Evanescence CDs…again? Play with your imaginary friends? I know, I know, I understand.

If you’re over about sixteen, then this film will probably fall flat, even if some of the above applies to you. If you’re an adult who enjoys Jim Carrey’s rubber-faced exploits, he’s not on screen nearly enough to rescue the film from those pesky ‘weird’ kids. I’m afraid this is a film you will enjoy in inverse proportion to the number of ‘proper’ actors you spot in minor roles. Despite some promising ingredients, the events do not quite hang together well enough to be called a ‘series’, and the viewer is left with a loose collection of spectacular set pieces. Which is unfortunate.