Mr. Movie

'Gnomeo & Juliet': Laughter through yonder window breaks

A gnome on a stage does a monologue that sets the stage for Gnomeo and Juliet.

As he prattles on, the poor guy dodges the unkindest cut of all — hooks to drag him off the stage.

Next we see the homes of the Montagues and Capulets. They inhabit adjoining houses with addresses listed as 2B and not 2B.

How fun.

-- Local show times, theaters, trailer.

One family has a blue house, the other red. They don’t like each other. The feud extends to the gnomes and assorted lawn decorations dotting their back yard lawns.

Then, blue Gnomeo falls in love with red Juliet and for the star-crossed lovers all the world becomes a stage.

Set to Elton John rock classics, and assuming you don’t take it too seriously, most of Gnomeo and Juliet is rib-rocking.

The film’s eight writers and writer/director Kelly Ashbury ( Shrek 2) pack the first two acts with clever bits on the Bard’s best. Those somewhat up to speed on Shakespeare will be entertained. If you’re more knowledgeable, you will be howling.

An example is a great cameo with Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Patrick Stewart who does a statue of Shakespeare.

He and Gnomeo get into a debate on how the outcome of the spoof ought to be. The statue wants to stick to the original. Gnomeo — of course — doesn’t quite see it that way.

To go or not to go, that is the question you must ask when considering Gnomeo’s third act.

It is boring. Once Ashbury and crew work through all the Shakespeare funnies, the movie falls a bit flat. The fault, dear Brutus is not in our stars.

James McAvoy and Emily Blunt give it their all. So do Jason Statham, Michael Caine, Julie Walters, Ozzy Ozbourne, Dolly Parton, Hulk Hogan, Maggi Smith and Ashley Jensen who has the most fun of anyone as Juliet’s BFF — best frog friend.

Some are criticizing that Gnomeo & Juliet grabs ideas from Toy Story. It does, but to give what happens to the characters credibility, you almost have to go that direction.

In all three acts, the kids will love the slapstick, the 3D if seen that way and the creative characters.

Adults will dig the humor and the music for two of the three.

All will like that Ashbury knows brevity is the soul of wit. His film ends quickly so that all may find parting such sweet sorrow.

Et tu, Brute?

Mr. Movie rating: 4 1/2 stars

Rated G. It opens Friday, Feb. 11 at the Carmike 12 and at the Fairchild Cinemas 12.

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen

4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.

3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.

2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.

0 stars: Speaks for itself.