Movie: Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events

Our Rating: 3.50

Like Labyrinth or The Nightmare Before Christmas before it, this proudly grave kid-lit adaptation seems destined to disappoint at the box office but be remembered as a lifetime favorite by a few million Goths in training. The love of reading, a gift for invention and a handful of other brainiac attributes are the guiding virtues as a trio of resourceful orphans are delivered into the slimy custody of their conniving Count Olaf (Jim Carrey). The film's excellent look arrives at a time when Tim Burton isn't making Tim Burton films anymore – exec producer Barry Sonnenfeld covered similar terrain in his Addams Family movies – and the unflinching depiction of loss and loneliness will tug at the black-lace heartstrings of trivia-deniers of all ages. A smattering of vulgar anachronisms spoils the timeless appeal, with Carrey the worst offender: His excessive ad libs are the symptoms of an advanced case of Robin Williams' disease.

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