Bomb Rating: 

Is it a blessing or a curse that when I see movies like "Carpool"I get to sit in the middle of the theater all by myself where I can truly focus on the dynamics of THX sound? Imagine the possibilities: Me alone in the theater and the enticing, sexy voice of that god of actors, Tom Arnold, blasting from every speaker in perfect balance. The mere specter is enough to make me want to put on a straight-jacket and bang my head to jelly.

As if it weren't enough for director Arthur Hiller to slice one carotid artery, he opens up another by adding Rhea Perlman to the all-star cast. Tom Arnold plays a desperate circus owner who kidnaps David Paymer and a group of kids during their carpool to school. Rhea Perlman plays a psychotic meter maid who's hell-bent on capturing Arnold. Go back and read those last two sentences again. The fact that dollar signs lit up in the eyes of the Hollywood executives being pitched this particular "winner" makes the case for their mandatory sterilization all the more airtight.

"Carpool" also has some of the worst looping I've ever heard. Arnold and Paymer must have been on separate planes halfway around the world while looping their lines via conference call. Either that or they screamed their redos into a sardine can to recreate the trapped, panicky atmosphere only a minivan can provide.

I suspect one of the only things in life more miserable than driving a minivan is driving a minivan full of screaming kids. Why anyone thought suburbanite boomers would flock to the local mall cinema see this wretched vision of their once-promising lives is a question that will likely forever be asked amid the smoking ruins of Warner Brothers' marketing department. You might as well screen "Midnight Express" in Turkish prisons.

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