This insidious film is brazen enough to be insulting to even the most dim-witted viewers. The story of a kid named Max (Francis Capra) finding agenie named Kazaam (Shaquille O'Neal) is a complete throwaway. There's all the requisite stuff about how the kid is traumatized by the completion of his mother's divorce from a father he never knew; there's Shaq telling the kid to follow his heart and the kid's inevitable acceptance of his soon-to-be stepfather.
What's really revolting about "Kazaam" is that the film soon degenerates into a shameless Shaq marketing scheme. Fresh out of his boom box, Kazaam starts rapping away, foreshadowing the inevitable scene where Shaq has his MTV minute and gets to rap his little heart out. Then there's the subplot about black-market CDs, which reminds us that when we buy Shaq's CD we should make sure it's street legal so that Shaq gets the proper royalties. Naturally, there's also a point at which Shaq dunks a bad guy through a garbage chute and even a very brief glimpse of Kazaam holding a Pepsi.
This is all brought to us courtesy of director Paul M. Glaser, known to professional glue sniffers, the criminally insane and beer-swilling rednecks around the globe as Starsky from that milestone in American television history, "Starsky and Hutch." Too bad that instead of driving that souped-up orange hot rod off a cliff, he teamed up with Shaq and drove it into our hearts. Sniff ... sniff. (Group hug.)
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