Gnomeo (James McAvoy) and Juliet (Emily Blunt), the offspring of rival clans of garden gnomes, fall in love and attempt to unite the two sides in this umpteenth retelling of the Shakespearean classic, which fares better than expected thanks to rollicking tunes from Elton John and middle-of-the-road gags that don’t get too caught up in the pop-cultural stew.
A real flaw, though fortunately not a fatal one, is the lack of high-powered vocal performances. The two most dynamic and distinctive voices in the mix belong to Michael Caine and Maggie Smith as the rival gnome clan heads, and it would have been far more interesting if the story had departed from the text a bit more to include an additional love connection for these two.
As things stand, this is certainly not the strangest adaptation of the Bard; in fact, it could be argued that Gnomeo & Juliet is rather conventional, especially for kiddie 3-D fare, when a few creative sparks (and a richer use of the extra dimension) might have been able to woo a few more hearts. Just be thankful Shakespeare never came up with a sequel. Grade: C
Opens Feb. 11. Check out theaters and show times, see the trailer and get theater details here.