Gnomeo & Juliet

Rated 2.0

Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is transplanted from Renaissance Italy to modern England and played out among a bunch of computer-animated garden gnomes, with James McAvoy and Emily Blunt voicing the title sweethearts and an earful of Elton John/Bernie Taupin oldies on the soundtrack. The movie uses up its modest supply of cuteness in the first few minutes; soon, flop sweat begins to bead up (metaphorically) on its desperately adorable brow, becoming a torrent as the movie rummages among half-baked ideas concocted by an unruly mob of nine writers. Unfortunately, without all the violence, gang killings and suicides, Shakespeare’s play doesn’t really have much drama to hang a story on. Still, McAvoy and (especially) Blunt manage some witty line readings. Michael Caine and Maggie Smith are along for class.