Spy Kids meets Sin City in Robert Rodriguez's latest, a ceaselessly inventive but ultimately tedious caper set in a three-dimensional CG world. Based on ideas cooked up by his seven-year-old son, The Adventures Of Shark Boy And Lava Girl In 3-D sees an unhappy boy teaming up with his own creations to save their fantasy land from destruction. Visually stunning but structurally chaotic, this overstylised adventure will entertain infants but leave grown-ups baffled.
Bullied at school and ignored by his parents, Max (Cayden Boyd) takes refuge in the imaginary landscapes of Planet Drool. The older he gets, however, the less comforting they are - until two of its residents, Shark Boy (Taylor Lautner) and Lava Girl (Taylor Dooley), come to him asking for help. Their homeland, it transpires, is being ravaged from within by the villainous Mr Electric (George Lopez), and only Max can prevent them dying with it.
"NO RHYME OR REASON TO THE DELICIOUS IMAGERY"
Max is initially thrilled to be transported to his otherworldly paradise, a land of milk and cookies packed with cool gizmos and mountainous roller coasters. And Rodriguez lets us share his wonder by having us don 3-D specs that bring Planet Drool to eye-popping life. Unfortunately, there's no rhyme or reason to the delirious imagery put before us. Nor are the leads surrounded by the kind of stellar ensemble that made the Spy Kids films as enjoyable for adults as they were for kids.
Shark Boy works fine as a Ritalin substitute for kids with ADHD. Their mums and dads, though, will be reaching for the paracetamol.