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Shark Tale

Genre: Animation/Comedy
Rated: PG-13
Directed by: VICKY JENSON, BIBO BERGERON and ROB LETTERMAN
Voices by: JACK BLACK
, ROBERT DE NIRO, ANGELINA JOLIE, MARTIN SCORSESE, WILL SMITH, RENEE ZELLWEGER
Released by: Dreamworks Pictures

In Short: If Nemo was a banquet, Shark Tale is a big, heaping bowl of salt water taffy, momentarily satisfying but ultimately lacking the heart and—pardon us—the depth of its undersea cousin.

Swimming Mainstream
A Moderately Successful, Animated Odd Couple in the Deep Blue Sea
By Andrew Bender

Shark Tale was produced by Mr. Spielberg's company, so it's only natural that it begins with the theme from Jaws. Our first clue that something's different: The "duh-DUH-duh-DUH-duh-DUH-duh-DUH" creeps out Lenny, the main-character shark.

Voiced by Jack Black, young Lenny is from a family of sharks (genus: loan) headed by his dad, Don Lino (voiced by Robert De Niro). Lenny's a vegetarian—he can't even bring himself to eat a shrimp—a signal of general namby-pambyness that makes him unfit to take over the family business.

Enter Oscar (voiced by Will Smith), a little fish with a big mission; he works at the whale wash but dreams of fame, fortune and females. A chance encounter with Lenny turns Oscar into a "shark-slayer" and the coolest guy in his school, and the movie becomes an undersea "Odd Couple."

Shark Tale's dialogue is a seaquarium full of puns to please moms and dads while the kids laugh at the antics. Its visuals are bright and fun. The fish live in an undersea Times Square, shop at the Gup, eat Kelpy Kremes and watch the latest hit from Mussel Crowe. The animated characters mimic the actors' own trademark traits : Don Lino has De Niro's mole, a temptress named Lola has Angelina Jolie's trademark pouty lips, and Smith's Oscar makes whale-washing look goood. There are some hilarious cameos, especially by Peter Falk as De Niro's associate Don Feinberg, and Ziggy Marley and Doug E. Doug as Rasta jellyfish hit-men. Plus, there's an awesome, hip-hop soundtrack.

Yet inevitably this film will be compared to Finding Nemo, and there it sinks. If Nemo was a banquet, Shark Tale is a big, heaping bowl of salt water taffy, momentarily satisfying but ultimately lacking the heart and—pardon us—the depth of its undersea cousin.


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