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Batman And Robin

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The fourth installment of the lucrative Batman series is the weakest yet, but anyone not expecting that after 1995's Batman Forever will probably be too dazed by all the bright lights in the theater lobby to notice anyway. Having abandoned all traces of Tim Burton's dark Gotham, director Joel (D.C. Cab) Schumacher simply piles on the spectacle while moving the movie's sensibility ever closer to that of the '60s TV series. The opening scene—in which a flashy new Batmobile is unveiled with all the reverence afforded to a relic of The True Christ—pretty much sets the tone, but it may also be the quintessential big-budget '90s Hollywood "come hither, fools, and gaze upon our expensive hardware" moment. The story involves Arnold Schwarzenegger's quest, as the mad Dr. Freeze, to find a cure for his wife's dread MacGregor's syndrome. Meanwhile, Uma Thurman's Earth First!-ish Poison Ivy—a combination of Mae West, Rachel Carson, and Aileen Wuornos—seeks some revenge of some sort. Helping hunk doctor George Clooney and his titular sidekick to ward off this peril is Alicia Silverstone, as Batgirl. Clooney fails to make much of an impression as The Batman, but to make an impression amongst all the garish theatrics, he would pretty much have to shout his dialogue in rhyming verse, backwards. In fact, with the exception of Chris O'Donnell's Burt Ward-like Boy Wonder, most of Batman And Robin's poorness cannot be blamed on its actors. After all, how much room for interpretation is there in such pun-riddled dialogue as, "It's time to kick some ice!" or "Freeze, the heat is on!," especially when it's set against a neon-drenched backdrop? Somewhere, someone decided that the world needed a superhero movie that looked and felt like a bad Broadway musical without the songs—all vacant camp and hollow flash, with virtually no reference to anything beyond itself. Ladies and gentlemen, here it is.