Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.

Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

St. Petersburg Times Online

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'Jimmy Neutron': Boy Boring

© St. Petersburg Times
published December 24, 2001

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Movie: Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius

Rating: G

Summary: Jimmy Neutron is a nerdy elementary school kid who loves to invent things. Even though his brain is at the top of the class, he's at the bottom of the social ladder. One day Jimmy sends a homemade communications satellite into space in hope of making contact with alien life forms. When the life forms receive the video message from the satellite, they notice Jimmy's tasty-looking parents in the background and proceed to Earth to scoop up all the parents in Jimmy's neighborhood for their next big meal.

The absence of parents was enjoyed by the kids for a little while, but it wasn't too long before they were missing them in a big way. They all decide to go to the alien planet to rescue them, and it's Jimmy, boy genius, who comes up with the plan to save their parents from becoming an alien Happy Meal.

My view: It doesn't take a genius to figure out that this movie isn't going to be in the theaters for too long. The plot contained nothing I hadn't seen before and probably would have worked better as a Saturday morning TV special rather than a full length movie. After viewing the spectacular animation and visual delights in this year's movies (Shrek, Atlantis the Lost Empire and Monsters, Inc.), this film's animation seemed amateurish.

The characters had extremely dull personalities, and even the humor was monotonous. The elementary-school aged kids in the audience could be heard laughing and seemed to enjoy the movie, but I had trouble sitting through it.

Favorite part: I admit, there were a few parts that made me crack a smile (involving Jimmy's robotic dog, Goddard), but everything else was pretty mediocre.

Least favorite part: There are a lot of kids' movies that can be tolerated or even enjoyed by older siblings and adults, but this definitely isn't one of them. The whole plot was redundant and mind-numbing.

Recommendations: This movie can only be enjoyed by elementary school kids. This is definitely one for the parents to drop their kids off while they finish the rest of their holiday shopping. Or, better yet, just wait a month or two until it's out on video -- the kids won't mind.

Grade: D

-- Billy Norris, 14 is in the eighth grade at Seminole Middle School, and is a former member of the Times X-Team.

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