MPAA Rating: PG

Entertainment: +3

Content: +1/2

In this fantasy-comedy, basketball superstar Shaquille O'Neal, who plays for the Orlando Magic in real life, unleashes magical powers as a 3,000-year-old genie with an attitude. While being pursued by bullies, a city kid named Max (Francis Capra) knocks over a boom box that houses Kazaam, who must grant his young master three wishes. Max is skeptical about Kazaam's abilities, and is more concerned about his divorced mother's engagement. He gets reacquainted with his estranged father, a concert promoter involved with some shady characters. The genie also has a brush with stardom as a rap singer. Eventually Max and Kazaam do help Max's father out of a nasty predicament. The plot has been recycled from many youth-oriented films, with a slightly obnoxious youngster teaming up with his new friend to foil dastardly villains. The casting of O'Neal as a genie is the drawing card that will bring youngsters and a few adults into the theater, but his role isn't always enchanting. O'Neal and his young co-star do have some humorous exchanges, and the scenes where the genie uses his amazing powers are entertaining and fun, but not frequent enough. The plot focuses too heavily on Max's family situation and not enough on his relationship with Kazaam. Kids who will be expecting a lot of magic from Shaq may feel shortchanged.

Some dangerous situations also bring questionable elements into the mix. There is some violent content, as Max is threatened both by bullies and adult villains and his father is roughed up a few times. Instead of basketball skills, O'Neal shows off his martial arts abilities, as Kazaam gets mean and unleashes a slew of vicious punches and kicks at the bad guys. Hollywood should find a way to make youth-oriented movies interesting and exciting without this violent material. Many mild and moderately crude words, two obscenities and one regular profanity appear in the dialogue. Several scenes feature rap singers, and female performers wear tight, revealing clothing. The magic is presented as fantasy, and like the genie in Aladdin, Kazaam can only grant material requests; he can't change a person's heart. Eventually, Max uses his wishes for a worthwhile purpose. We give KAZAAM a marginal recommendation, but it could have been more kid-friendly and entertaining if its violence and language had been toned down.

Preview Reviewer: Mark Perry
Touchstone Pictures (Disney Co.), Buena Vista, 500 S. Buena Vista St., Burbank, CA, 91521

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (10) times - Mild 6, Moderate 4

Obscene Language: Few (2) times - Slang words for excrement (no f- or s-words)

Profanity: Few (2) times - Regular 1 (J), Exclamatory 1

Violence: Several times - Mild and Moderate (boy chased and threatened by bullies, men beaten, fist fights, genie uses martial arts on villains).

Sex: None

Nudity: None; Near Nudity - (women in tight, revealing clothes)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Alcohol drinking


Running Time: Unknown
Intended Audience: Children over 5 to adults

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