Review: Live action 'Sonic the Hedgehog' fails to find its stride

Sonic (Ben Schwartz) in SONIC THE HEDGEHOG from Paramount Pictures and Sega. (Photo: Paramount Pictures, Sega of America)

Sonic the Hedgehog
2.5 out of 5 Stars
Jeff Fowler
Writers: Patrick Casey, Josh Miller, Yuji Naka, Naoto Ohshima, Hirokazu Yasuhara
Starring: Jim Carrey, Ben Schwartz, James Marsden
Genre: Action, Adventure
Rated: PG for action, some violence, rude humor and brief mild language.

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) – Synopsis: Sonic, a blue hedgehog, with exceptional speed lives in isolation on the outskirts of a small town. Unknown to those around him, Sonic accidently causes a power outage that gets the attention of the government.

Review: Paramount Pictures saw franchise potential in the SEGA flagship character. So much so that they were willing to retool the design of Sonic after the initial trailer was essentially dismissed and rejected by the character’s core audience. Their work paid off. There’s nothing wrong or distracting in the released version.

Still, when my first thought about a film is, “Well, that could have gone much worse,” I’m not sure if that is a compliment or simply a confession that I knew enduring a spasmatic performance from Jim Carrey was going to be a challenge.

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I know there are many people who enjoyed Carrey’s films in the early ‘90s. I hated them. His dumb-goofy shtick drove me crazy. In “Sonic the Hedgehog,” Carrey’s performance as Dr. Ivo Robotnik is excruciatingly annoying. Which, depending on your temperament towards “Ace Ventura” or “Dumb and Dumber,” might be the best news you’ve heard since they canceled “LazyTown.”

Outside of Carrey, the film’s biggest problem is its inability to build up momentum. Writers Patrick Casey and Josh Miller have injected the narrative with a feel-good aspect that sees Tom Wachowski (James Marsden), a small-town police officer, reluctantly accepting a position in San Francisco. Tom is torn, but it feels superficial and ambiguous.

When Tom discovers Sonic, the blue devil that locals have debated the existence of for years, his and Maddie (Tika Sumpter), his wife, see their lives go in an unexpected direction that is hardly a surprise.

Marsden’s laidback performance is the foil to Carrey’s scene-stealing mayhem. Sumpter’s Maddie feels incredibly underwritten. She’s a third wheel to Tom and Sonic.

There are a few roller-coaster moments in the film, but it trips over itself too often to make the race exciting from start to finish.

Hardcore fans of either Sonic or Carrey will likely enjoy the film, but I can’t imagine it playing to any sort of audience beyond that.

Yeah, it could have been worse. It could have also been better.