The Haunted Mansion

Bomb Rating: 

You really know your life is in the shitter when you start looking forward to movies based on amusement park rides. Can you imagine what's going to happen when Disney finally does "It's a Small World: The Movie"? I'm pretty sure that's the end of the world as we know it. Does anybody even recall what goes on in the Haunted Mansion ride? Isn't that the ride everybody goes on when the line is too long for Space Mountain?

This film is about a mansion that's haunted. A workaholic real estate broker, Jim Evers (Eddie Murphy), gets suckered into going there when his wife, Sara (Marsha Thompson), is invited by Master Gracey (Nathaniel Parker) through his butler, Ramsley (Terence Stamp). Master Gracey only wants Sara to show up, but Jim comes along with the kids: Michael (Marc John Jefferies) and Megan (Aree Davis). All we know about the kids is that Michael has a huge fear of spiders, which naturally means that he'll encounter spiders while in the mansion.

The reason Master Gracey wants Sara there is that she's the spittin' image of his long lost wife and he wants to remarry. It quickly becomes apparent that Master Gracey and his staff aren't of the living and the Evers become trapped there.

It's abjectly painful to watch where Eddie Murphy's career has gone. His recent acting forays play out like some desperate actor's twelve-step plan for family film success. He smiles all the time and behaves like somebody who's had one too many cups of coffee. He's like that guy at the office who has just a little too much energy and after five minutes of his non-stop talking you just want to bury a paperweight in his forehead. And where did they find Marsha Thompson? Sure, the woman is attractive, but her acting makes one suspect that there are midgets out-of-frame wheeling her lifeless body around on a dolly. This woman is stiffer than Hugh Grant in the Vegas suburbs.

"The Haunted Mansion" is scary, sure, but for all the wrong reasons.

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