'Shark Tale' Is a Halibut Good Time

Now in theaters: Shark Tale and I [Heart] Huckabees.

Shark Tale
I've had it up to the gills with fish puns. But let's talk about Shark Tale just for the halibut.

This film is funny. But part of the problem with animated features is that the bar has been raised so high with Finding Nemo and Shrek 1 and 2. Shark Tale just doesn't have that kind of heart. Very few films of any kind do.

I call it "The Codfather." And here's an offer you can't refuse: Take the kids — it's a wonderful family film. Will Smith and Martin Scorsese are just part of Shark Tale's zillion-dollar dream cast.

Smith swims in some dangerous waters, but Ren&éacute;e Zellweger is the fish who'll love him, even if he winds up as filet of sole.

Robert De Niro is the big fish who wants his sons to take over the family business. But one son, Jack Black, is more fluke than shark. He's a vegetarian.

Then there's Angelina Jolie, and let's just say she's no angelfish.

The scenes between Scorsese and De Niro deserve a 12 on a scale of … well, sharks don't have scales.

The computer-generated animation is dazzlingly beautiful, maybe too dazzling. There is so much detail, the story almost drowns in it. But Shark Tale rescued by its great look, big laughs and just plain amazing cast. Grade: B

I [Heart] Huckabees
When a film opens in a limited number of theaters, they say it "opens small." This film opens today very small. Unfortunately, not small enough.

Yes, it's a great cast, featuring Jason Schwartzman, Dustin Hoffman, Lily Tomlin, Jude Law and Mark Wahlberg. But instead of saving this film, you wonder what they're doing here. I have no idea what this film is about. Even the title is incomprehensible, with a little heart sign instead of the word "Heart."

How did someone give David O. Russell $20 million to make this film? Here's my theory: He made a terrific tiny independent film, Flirting With Disaster. That led to the big-budget Three Kings, a commercial hit, which made my 10-best list for 1999.

Huckabees doesn't just flirt with disaster, it embraces it, marries it and takes it on a honeymoon. This film is very polarizing. You'll either love it or hate it. Guess which side I'm on. Grade: C