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Shorts a truly sidesplitting treat
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Shorts a truly sidesplitting treat

by Rajkhet Dirzhud-Rashid - SGN A&E Writer

Shorts
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I remember James Spader for two reasons. One is the movie a former friend dragged me to that I loved even more once I got into the S/M scene that I'm in now. The movie is The Secretary, which is almost de rigueur for anyone into S/M, though my slave hasn't seen it yet (I intend to change that soon). The other is, of course, the witty and urbanely charming Boston Legal, where Spader plays the straight guy to William Shatner's over-the-top Denny Crane, a man with almost no moral center.

Ah, but I digress a bit, as the current movie featuring the multi-talented Spader and a cast of well-loved and stellar actors is a sweet gem that we did see together a couple of weeks ago. Trust me, even if you're more than old enough for the standard carnival rides, Shorts will tickle your funny bone and maybe even give your inner kid (especially, if like me, that inner kid was bullied as a child in grade school) much pleasure at how a geeky kid (Jimmy Bennett) has his day when he is gifted with a wishing rock.

Little Toe tells the story of how the rock  a rainbow-colored crystal that looks like it leaped from any local metaphysical shop  came into his possession in a series of short tales. The shorts are out of order, following the way many kids  and a lot of adults  remember and tell a story. These shorts are the funniest part of this delightful film and they feature a cast of characters that puts those in Lemony Snicket to shame.

My favorite character was little goth Helvetica Black, daughter of Carbon Black (Jolie Vanier and the inimitable James Spader at his comic best), part of the bullying group that makes Toe's life miserable until he receives his turn with the wishing rock. I say his turn because before he receives it, the stone goes through several hands, including those of a group of friends who have the undesirable talent to wish for the wrong things, with hilarious results.

Before it's all over, a baby becomes super-smart, Toe's parents end up looking like a comic mutant until the spell is broken, and giant alligators are threatening the city. Mr. Carbon Black (Spader) also learns that wanting to rule the world via the perfect product isn't the best wish either and his daughter makes friends with Toe. So all's well and also truly sidesplitting at times, as this sweet films makes fun of everything from our technology-obsessed society to towns built around the employer they work for. Go see it with someone either young, or at least young a heart, and give your inner kid a little present for a day.

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