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'The Oogieloves' review: No sitting still

A scene from the

A scene from the "The Oogieloves." Credit: Handout

Good news, parents! The MPAA rating for "The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure" is what you might call a hard G: always sweet, never scary and free of crude humor. The bad news, at least for you, is that it's nearly as insipid and mind-numbing as the television show that inspired it, "Teletubbies."

Produced by Kenn Viselman, who imported the massively successful "Teletubbies" and "Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends" series from England, "The Oogieloves" is presented as a new kind of interactive movie experience, with on-screen cues encouraging children to sing, dance and chant. (Viselman claims he got the idea while sitting among a raucous crowd at a Tyler Perry movie.) Well, that's another plus for this movie: No shushing necessary.

If only there were something on screen to keep your adult brain from dissolving into strained peas. Three actors in bigheaded, fuzzy-wuzzy costumes play Goobie (brainy, bespectacled), Zoozie (girlish, pigtailed) and Toofie (rowdy, sloppy), who are preparing a birthday surprise for their favorite throw pillow, Schluufy (babbling, immobile). But they've lost their five magic balloons somewhere in Lovelyloveville! Can you help find them?

"The Oogieloves," like the much-criticized "Teletubbies," isn't educational (there is some counting) and barely qualifies as entertaining; it's merely eye-occupying, like a spinning mobile or a blowing curtain. It also looks rather cheap and feels hastily conceived, with a random grab bag of guest stars playing tossed-off characters like circle-obsessed Dotty Rounder (Cloris Leachman), sneezing diva Rosalie Rosebud (Toni Braxton) and jive-talking soda jerk Milky Marvin (a fairly entertaining Chazz Palminteri). The film's one clever joke is a talking vacuum named J. Edgar -- get it?

Filmed, if not quite directed, by Matthew Diamond, "The Oogieloves" unfolds with a disjointed dream logic that may resonate with its target audience. The downside is that you'll have to sit through it, too.

PLOT Three fuzzy friends go searching for five magic balloons. RATING G (one burb joke)

CAST Toni Braxton, Cloris Leachman, Chazz Palminteri


PLAYING AT Area theaters

BOTTOM LINE It's 100 percent kid-friendly and cutesy-wutesy, but adult brains will turn to mush within minutes.

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