Director Frank Coraci plays fast and loose with Jules Verne's classic tome Around The World In 80 Days, but his adaptation never runs out of gas. Steve Coogan dons the top hat and tails of 19th century inventor Phileas Fogg, but the real star of the show is Jackie Chan as his hapless valet Passepartout. With his inimitable blend of slapstick and chop-socky, he puts the kick in sidekick - and just about compensates for the many holes you could punch through the script.
Coogan retains the pomp of Alan Partridge to play the visionary scientist who's mocked by his peers for espousing outlandish ideas about combustible engines, flying machines, and, um, rollerblades. When his credibility is brought into question by the head of The Royal Academy Of Science (a shamelessly hammy Jim Broadbent), Fogg stakes his reputation - as well as his livelihood - on the hypothesis that he can circumnavigate the globe in 80 days.
"A FILM THAT REVELS IN ITS SILLINESS"
Passepartout (Chan) is eager to tag along since it means a quick route to China after pulling a bank robbery. Along the way they pick up aspiring artist Monique (Cécile De France) and encounter a colourful cast of international characters, including a comically afro-ed Arnold Schwarzenegger playing a Turkish prince.
Coraci maintains a breezy pace, although a lazily tacked-on subplot involving a Chinese warlord (Karen Joy Morris) is simply dead weight. Likewise, Fogg's willingness to gamble away his livelihood is never handled convincingly. Even so, this is a film that revels in its silliness and it's easy to forgive these flaws.
Coogan is endearingly awkward and provides a solid anchor for the typically madcap Chan - their natural rapport making up for some lacklustre dialogue. Ewen Bremner's bumbling copper, meanwhile, will undoubtedly keep the kids amused.
Coraci never comes close to achieving the literary complexities of Verne's novel, but that isn't his aim. Instead he delivers a cheerful round-the-world romp that will transport the whole family to a happy place in precisely two hours.