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Where the Wild Things Are almost a hit, but not quite 

Spike Jonze's adaptation takes too long to gel with its theme.

The understated beauty and the elegant alchemy of CGI, live action and vocal performance in the titular wild things goes a long way to make up for Wild Things' not quite fatal, but certainly inescapable flaw. It takes far too long for the film's subtle plot--Max (Max Records, in a debut performance that is a tad showy) escapes his mother's wary eye and becomes king of the you-know-whats--to gel with its theme: how futile it is to control others' actions. James Gandolfini gives a wonderful, open-hearted performance as Carol, Max's wild ally, and the film takes off when Carol takes a dark turn in the last act. The gesture reminded me of a line in director Spike Jonze's Adaptation: "Wow them in the end and you've got a hit." Wild Things is close, but not quite a hit.

Where the Wild Things Are
Rated PG (MPAA) · 94 min. · 2009
Official Site: www.wherethewildthingsare.com
Director: Spike Jonze
Writer: Michael Goldenberg, Dave Eggers and Spike Jonze
Producer: John B. Carls, Gary Goetzman, Tom Hanks, Vincent Landay and Maurice Sendak
Cast: Catherine Keener, Max Records, Mark Ruffalo, Lauren Ambrose, James Gandolfini, Catherin O'Hara and Forest Whitaker

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