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MONSTER HOUSE

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A tween trio attempts to save their neighborhood from a mysterious human- and dog-eating house in this latest motion-capture animated film. Fresh-out-of-film-school director Gil Kenan is in your face with animation techniques that work wonders for the house's rich textures as it devours and crumbles; unfortunately, it takes a good hour to actually get inside. It's not enough to cover up the rote, if not slightly lacking, comic suburban-kids-on-a-mission plot, or the bizarre and slightly off-putting explanation for the house's evil motivations. Like so many children's films, an attempt to please everyone will leave most viewers unsatisfied: Haunted-house-style horror is woven with slapstick, jabs at cops and babysitters, and puberty-related jokes, leaving young children terrified, teens restless and adults slightly bored. For tweens however, Monster House will likely be the best animated film this summer. (LB)

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