Privacy Policy | Sitemap | Shopping

Igor Animated Feature | Movie Review & Trailer | John Cusack, Steve Buscemi & John Cleese in Igor

Online Breaking News Headlines Single Source to Headlines Breaking News Current Events Top Stories. Find out what is happening in News & the World. Check out for the latest news & current events articles plus Movie Reviews, Wolfgang Puck Recipes, NFL Previews Analysis and Politics. Your Single Source to News Articles, Current Events & Reviews.

  'Igor' Movie Review (2 1/2 Stars)
      Movie Reviews by Michael Phillips



Igor Starring the voices of John Cusack, Steve Buscemi, John Cleese, Jennifer Coolidge, Arsenio Hall, Sean Hayes, Eddie Izzard, Jay Leno, Molly Shannon | Film Critic Michael Phillips Reviews Igor | Video

Subscribe to Movies Reviews by Film Critic Michael Phillips  RSS     Movies Reviews by Film Critic Michael Phillips   SHARE

"Igor" is about a misunderstood hunchback and an aspiring actress, and it's easy to see why it got made in the first place: Most of the men who run Hollywood envision their world in roughly the same terms.

Screenwriter Chris McKenna -- whose chief credit is the Fox series "American Dad!" -- brings a classic supporting horror-movie player center stage, the way the "Shrek" movies subverted and showcased the ogre archetype. In the Kingdom of Malaria, Igors are sent to Igor School for a "Yes Masters' Degree" (I like that bit), destined for a servile, lisping, foot-dragging existence in the employ of the country's many evil scientists.

The Igor "Igor" concerns itself with is voiced by John Cusack. His venal boss, Dr. Glickenstein (John Cleese), expires while tinkering with his invention for the annual Evil Science Fair, leaving Igor to freely experiment with his own creation: a destructive force of mayhem, female division, voiced by Molly Shannon. She recalls Elsa Lancaster in "The Bride of Frankenstein," without the electro-fro.

The gag here is that "Eva" isn't evil in the least.

Subjected to a "Clockwork Orange"-style brainwashing process, she is mistakenly shown a James Lipton "Inside the Actors Studio" program and comes out thinking she's an actress herself, obsessed with scene study and updating her "sense-memory journal."

If this sounds rather arch, well, a lot of "Igor" certainly is that. You'll surely never see, or hear, a more menacing rendition of the "Annie" anthem "Tomorrow" than the one sung by the newly evil-ized Eva as she batters the competition at the climactic Evil Science Fair.

I don't like that scene much: It's just off-putting.

More fun for me, as well as for my preteen son John and his pal Liam, is the running gag with Igor's associate, the suicidal rabbit Scamper. With an uneven and overstuffed script you appreciate the corner-of-the-mouth comments as delivered by Steve Buscemi. The boys' favorite bit was one of the simplest: "May I suggest that you look behind you!?!" Scamper thunders, after Eva's gone missing. Igor looks. Nothing there. "It was just a suggestion," he says.

The visual universe of "Igor" is pretty grim, full of rusty maroon tones and belching smoke and pop decadence.

Director Tony Leondis and his chief art director, Olivier Besson, are trying to show us there's more than one way to evoke moods and textures made famous by Tim Burton. Even with various script doctors, "Igor" isn't particularly funny, and having all those Louis Prima tunes on the soundtrack seems completely at odds with composer Patrick Doyle's moody, sardonic orchestral commentary. But my kid went with it, and I had a fairly good time with it, as I waited patiently for the reappearance of a marble-mouthed peasant tart, Mittel-European division, voiced by Jennifer Coolidge. Half the time her line readings are hilarious, and it's impossible to know, in any rational sense, why. That's my kind of voice artist.


MPAA rating: PG (for some thematic elements, scary images, action and mild language).

Running time: 1:26.

Starring the voices of: John Cusack (Igor); Steve Buscemi (Scamper); John Cleese (Dr. Glickenstein); Jennifer Coolidge (Jaclyn/Heidi); Arsenio Hall (Carl Cristall); Sean Hayes (Brain); Eddie Izzard (Dr. Schadenfreude); Jay Leno (King Malbert); Molly Shannon (Eva).

Directed by Tony Leondis; written by Chris McKenna, additional material by Leondis, John Hoffman and Dimitri Toscas; art directed by Olivier Besson; animation supervised by Christele Jolens and Yoshimichi Tamura; edited by Herve Schneid; music by Patrick Doyle; produced by John D. Eraklis and Max Howard. An MGM release.

About "Igor" the Movie

In a land of mad scientists and diabolical inventions, what do you do when you're born with a hunch on your back?

You become an Igor.

A hilarious twist on the classic monster movie, IGOR tells the story of one Igor who's sick of being a lowly lab assistant with a Yes Masters' degree and dreams of becoming a scientist. When his cruel master kicks the bucket a week before the annual Evil Science Fair, Igor finally gets his chance.

With the help of two of his experimental creations - Brain, a brain in a jar who's a little light on brains, and Scamper, a cynical bunny brought back from being road kill, Igor embarks on building the most evil invention of all time, a huge, ferocious monster. Unfortunately, instead of turning out evil, the monster turns out as Eva, a giant aspiring actress who wouldn't hurt a fly.

Just when the load on his back can't get any heavier, Igor and his band of monstrous misfits uncover an evil plot that threatens their world. Now, they must fight to save it and prove that heroes come in all shapes and sizes.

Featuring the voice talents of John Cusack, Steve Buscemi, John Cleese, Jennifer Coolidge, Arsenio Hall, Sean Hayes, Eddie Izzard, Jay Leno, James Lipton, Molly Shannon and Christian Slater, IGOR is the must-see family comedy of the fall.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Presents an Exodus Film Group Production, IGOR. Directed by Tony Leondis. Written by Chris McKenna. Produced by John D. Eraklis and Max Howard. Executive Producer Jean-Luc De Fanti. Line Producer John McKenna. Music by Patrick Doyle. Credits are not final and subject to change.

IGOR is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for Some Thematic Elements, Scary Images, Action and Mild Language. The film will be released in theaters nationwide on September 19, 2008.

In the Kingdom of Malaria evil is good business. Each year the kingdom hosts an Evil Science Fair showcasing the diabolical Evil Inventions that Malaria's thirteen evil scientists have spent the year creating. King Malbert, Malaria's leader, then kindly informs the rest of the world that the winning Evil Invention will be unleashed on them unless they cough up an exorbitant amount of money. So the world pays and Malaria prospers. But it wasn't always this way.

Once a bright and happy place of fertile fields, Malaria was plunged into darkness when strange clouds moved in and never left, eventually causing the crops to die and Malaria's citizens to lose hope. However, the business of Evil brought prosperity back to the kingdom, and the Evil Scientists who annually battle each other to produce the winning invention are Malaria's most prominent citizens. And then there are the Evil Scientist's trusty lab assistants - also known as Igor's.

In Malaria if you're born with a hump on your back you have only one choice - you are sent to Igor School to train for a Yes Masters' Degree and a life of servitude as a lab assistant to one of Malaria's Evil Scientists. But one Igor, dissatisfied with living as a slave to his master, Dr. Glickentstein, dares to dream of becoming an Evil Scientist himself and reaping everything that goes with it - the fame, the fortune, and of course the girl. When fate steps in, and Dr. Glickenstein accidentally gets on the wrong side of his own invention, bringing about his own end, Igor seizes his chance and sets out to make his dream come true.

Concealing his master's demise, and with the help of his own secret experimental creations - Brain, a not so bright brain-in-a-jar, and Scamper, a rabbit with a death wish, who despite his best efforts just can't die, Igor sets out to build the most evil invention ever - a huge, ferocious Monster, designed to reign terror upon all in its path. Unfortunately, Brain's well meaning but somewhat inept assistance causes something to go awry and Igor's evil monster turns out to be a "she" and, unfortunately for Igor, the sweetest thing in the world.

Misunderstanding Igor as he attempts to convince her that she is evil, the Monster calls herself Eva and, to Igor's further despair, announces that she wants nothing more than to be an actress. With only a week before the Evil Science Fair, Igor is determined to find a way to turn his Monster into the weapon of destruction he intended, and so appealing to Eva's dreams of stardom he tells her that they must immediately begin rehearsals preparing her to audition for a role in a big musical that requires her to 'act' evil. Proclaiming herself up for the part, Eva throws herself into the evil "rehearsals" with her new friends.

As rehearsals progress, Igor - to his horror - begins to fall in love with the big hearted monster, and comes to the realization that being an evil scientist is a whole lot tougher than he had imagined. To make matters worse, Malaria's reigning Evil Scientist, Dr. Schadenfreude, has discovered Eva and is determined to steal her. A conniving cheater, who year after year manages to win the Science Fair by stealing ideas from other evil scientists, Schadenfreude has decided that this year in addition to claiming the winning invention he is going to take over the throne from King Malbert - and the Monster is going to help him. With the help of his ruthless girlfriend Jaclyn, Schadenfreude sends Igor down the Igor Recycling Chute and steals Eva, determined to complete her evil programming and fulfill his ruthless plan to rule over Malaria.

With his creation stolen and dream of becoming an evil scientist destroyed, Igor is resigned to his fate of the recycling chute, when, defying even their own expectations, Scamper and Brain manage to come to his rescue. Convincing Igor that he can't give up on his dream yet, the trio set off for the Science Fair to win Eva back, but when Igor uncovers a plot that threatens to destroy their world, he has to prove that heroes come in all shapes and sizes and show Malaria - and Eva - that some dreams are worth pursuing.

About the Cast "Igor" the Movie

IGOR (John Cusack)

A potentially gifted and brilliant scientist, Igor was born with a hunch on his back which, in Malaria, leaves him with only one choice in life - to become an Igor. Forced to serve a cruel scientist named Dr. Glickenstein, Igor must invent in secret, always afraid of being discovered. When fate finally steps in and gives Igor the chance to build his greatest invention - an evil monster that will win the Annual Evil Science Fair and bring Igor the respect he has always wanted - something goes horribly wrong. His evil invention does not want to be evil; she wants to be an actress! Now he has to figure out a way to get her to compete in the Annual Evil Science Fair and battle Malaria's other evil inventions, or it's down the Igor recycling chute for him.

With an impressive body of work spanning the course of two decades, JOHN CUSACK (Igor) has evolved into one of Hollywood's most accomplished and respected actors of his generation, garnering both critical acclaim as well as prestigious accolades for his dramatic and comedic roles.

Cusack first gained the attention of audiences by starring in a number of 1980s film classics such as THE SURE THING, SAY ANYTHING and SIXTEEN CANDLES. Following these roles, Cusack successfully shed his teen-heartbeat image by demonstrating his ability to expand his film repertoire by starring in a wide range of dramas, thrillers and comedies including THE GRIFTERS, EIGHT MEN OUT, ADAPTATION, BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, HIGH FIDELITY and GROSSE POINTE BLANK.

Most recently, Cusack starred, wrote and produced the political satire, WAR INC. The film also stars Joan Cusack, Marisa Tomei, Hilary Duff and Sir Ben Kingsley and was produced under his New Crime Productions banner. The film was shot in Sofia, Bulgaria and was directed by Joshua Seftel. Cusack wrote the screenplay with Jeremy Pikser and Mark Leyner. In the film, Cusack plays the role of a hit man hired to kill the CEO of a major corporation. Set in the future in the desert town of Turagistan, Cusack finds himself torn between obligation and love.

Cusack is currently shooting 2012 in Vancouver for director Roland Emmerich, and recently completed filming SHANGHAI, in London and Bangkok for director Mikael Håfström with co-stars Gong Li and Chow Yun-Fat.

In 2007, Cusack starred in GRACE IS GONE, which premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and was recognized with the "Audience Award." The film was written and directed by James C. Strouse, and produced under Cusack's New Crime Productions banner. Also in 2007, Cusack starred opposite Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt and Joan Cusack in the romantic comedy MARTIAN CHILD, directed by Menno Meyjes and written by Seth Bass and Jonathan Tolins, as well as the box office hit 1408, directed by Mikael Håfström from a story adapted by Matt Greenberg, Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski from the Stephen King novel of the same title.

In 2005, Cusack starred opposite Billy Bob Thornton in the dark comedy, THE ICE HARVEST, based on a Scott Phillips novel and directed by Harold Ramis. The previous year in RUNAWAY JURY, he stared opposite Hollywood legends Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman. The film was based on John Grisham's best selling novel of the same title and was directed by Gary Fleder. In 2003, Cusack joined Amanda Peet, Alfred Molina and Ray Liotta in the thriller IDENTITY, directed by James Mangold.

In 2002, Cusack starred in the controversial film, MAX, directed by Menno Meyjes, as Max Rothman, an elegant, sophisticated former cavalry officer who returns to his native Munich to set up an art gallery and meets another aspiring artist, a young Adolf Hitler (played by Noah Taylor).

Cusack has starred in several romantic comedies, including SERENDIPITY, directed by Peter Chelsom and co-starring Kate Beckinsale; as well as starring with Julia Roberts, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Billy Crystal IN AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS.

In 2001, Cusack was nominated for a Golden Globe® Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical, for his role in the feature version of Nick Hornby's novel HIGH FIDELITY. In addition to starring in the film, Cusack also co-produced and co-wrote the script with Steve Pink, D.V. DeVincentis and Scott Rosenberg. In 1999, Cusack starred in the dark comedy BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, which garnered him an Independent Spirit Award nomination in the category of Best Actor. Also that year, Cusack portrayed Nelson Rockefeller in the ensemble drama THE CRADLE WILL ROCK, written and directed by Tim Robbins, and starred with Billy Bob Thornton, Angelina Jolie and Cate Blanchett in Mike Newell's comedy PUSHING TIN. In the same year, he starred in HBO's "The Jack Bull," a traditional Western written by his father Dick Cusack, which Cusack also served as executive producer for along with Steve Pink and D.V. DeVincentis under New Crime Productions.

In 1998, Cusack appeared in the World War II combat epic THE THIN RED LINE, based on the James Jones novel about the Battle of Guadalcanal. Directed by Terrence Malick, the ensemble cast included George Clooney, Woody Harrelson, Nick Nolte, Gary Oldman, Sean Penn, Bill Pullman and John Travolta.

In 1997, Cusack starred opposite Joan Cusack, Dan Aykroyd and Minnie Driver in GROSSE POINTE BLANK. Cusack received rave reviews for the comedy that he also produced and co-wrote, about a hit man who goes through a spiritual crisis during his high school reunion. This was the first project New Crime developed and produced under their banner.

Also in 1997, Cusack starred with Nicolas Cage, John Malkovich and Steve Buscemi in the blockbuster CON AIR from director Simon West, and later that year he starred with Kevin Spacey in MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL, directed by Clint Eastwood. Additionally, Cusack lent his voice to the full-length animated feature ANASTASIA, opposite the voices of Meg Ryan as Anastasia, Christopher Lloyd as Rasputin, and Kelsey Grammer as Vladimir.

In 1995, Cusack starred opposite Al Pacino in the political thriller CITY HALL, directed by Harold Becker and in 1994, he re-teamed with Woody Allen, who cast him in the 1991 film SHADOWS AND FOG, to portray playwright David Shayne in the acclaimed BULLETS OVER BROADWAY. Additional feature film credits include THE ROAD TO WELLVILLE, TRUE COLORS, BROADCAST NEWS, STAND BY ME and BETTER OFF DEAD.

SCAMPER (Steve Buscemi)

One of Igor's first experiments, Scamper is a 'road kill' rabbit that he brought back to life. Igor gave him super-intelligence and immortality, but Scamper doesn't see the point in living. He's always trying to end his meaningless existence but can't - he just keeps coming back to life again and again and again. However, by the end of the story, Scamper discovers that life is truly worth living.

STEVE BUSCEMI (Scamper) has built a career out of portraying some of the most unique and unforgettable characters in film and television productions.

His numerous credits encompass dramatic and comedic roles, and include the Oscar®-nominated film GHOST WORLD, directed by Terry Zwigoff for which Buscemi won an Independent Spirit Award and The New York Film Critics Award and was nominated for a Golden Globe® for Best Supporting Actor for his performance. Other credits include roles in, Alexandre Rockwell's 1992 Sundance Film Festival Jury Award-winner IN THE SOUP, Martin Scorcese's NEW YORK STORIES, the Academy Award® -winning FARGO, THE BIG LEBOWSKI, and an IFP Spirit Award-winning performance as Mr. Pink in RESERVOIR DOGS. Additionally, Buscemi has made numerous cameo appearances in films such as RISING SUN, THE HUDSUCKER PROXY, BIG DADDY, and THE WEDDING SINGER.

Recent film credits include roles in I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU CHUCK AND LARRY, DELIRIOUS (which also premiered at Sundance), Joel and Ethan Coen's segment of the French film PARIS, JE T'AIME, I THINK I LOVE MY WIFE and ART SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL. Buscemi recently completed production on director Florian Gallenberger's JOHN RABE, a film based on the diaries of the titular German businessman who used his Nazi membership to rescue more than 200,000 Chinese during the 1937-38 Nanjing massacre. Other upcoming projects include YOUTH IN REVOLT, opposite Justin Long and Michael Cera, and THE MESSENGER, opposite Jena Malone and Woody Harrlelson. Next, he will shoot ST. JOHN OF LAS VEGAS, opposite Romany Malco and Emily Mortimor.

Buscemi also has numerous television credits, including recent appearances on "30 Rock," for which he was nominated for an Emmy®, and "ER," but he is best known for his Emmy nominated role as Tony Blundetto in the critically acclaimed HBO series, "The Sopranos." Buscemi also directed a number of episodes for the show, and was nominated for an Emmy® and DGA Award for the "Pine Barrens" episode in season four.

No stranger to animated features, Buscemi was heard in the children's classic CHARLOTTE'S WEB, as the voice of Templeton the rat, and as the voice of Nebbercracker in the Oscar® nominated animated film MONSTER HOUSE. He also provided the voices for characters in the animated features MONSTERS, INC. and FINAL FANTASY. Buscemi recently recorded the voice of Buckey for G-FORCE, along with Will Arnett, Nicolas Cage, Tracy Morgan and Penelope Cruz.

In addition to his talents as an actor, Buscemi has proven to be a respected writer and director. His first project, the short film WHAT HAPPENED TO PETE, was featured at several film festivals including Rotterdam and Locarno, and aired on the Bravo Network. He marked his full-length feature film directorial debut with TREES LOUNGE, which he also wrote and starred in. The film made its debut in the Directors' Fortnight at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival. Buscemi's second feature film as a director, ANIMAL FACTORY, based on a book by Edward Bunker, premiered at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival and starred Willem Dafoe and Edward Furlong. IFC released his third directorial feature, LONESOME JIM, a comedy-drama about a dysfunctional family, which was named one of the year's top ten independent films by the National Board of Review. His latest directorial outing, in which he also starred, was INTERVIEW, with Sienna Miller, which premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

BRAIN (Sean Hayes)

Brain is another of Igor's inventions - a very early prototype. This brain-in-a-jar is anything but! Let's just say that this jar is more than half empty. He is always trying to prove that he is very intelligent and can help, but unwittingly ends up making life even tougher for our hero.

SEAN HAYES (Brain) is best known to audiences for his starring role on the smash hit comedy series "Will & Grace." His portrayal of the often self-absorbed but lovable Jack McFarland earned him seven consecutive Emmy® Award nominations, from 2000 to 2006, as Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. He won the Emmy for his first nomination as well as three Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards, and an American Comedy Award. He also shared in a SAG Award won by the cast of "Will & Grace" for Outstanding Ensemble Performance, six Golden Globe® nominations, and three more individual SAG Award nominations for his work on the series.

In 2002, Hayes took on the role of Jerry Lewis in the acclaimed television biopic "Martin and Lewis," which chronicled the rise and eventual breakup of the legendary duo. Hayes earned another SAG Award nomination for his portrayal of Lewis.

A native of Chicago, Hayes attended Illinois State University and began his professional career in the Chicago theater community. He performed at the Organic Theatre and honed his comedic and improvisational skills through the Second City training program. While still in Chicago, Hayes worked in commercials and television projects, including the television movie "A&P," based on a story by John Updike.

Hayes made his feature film debut in 1998 in the title role of the art house hit BILLY'S HOLLYWOOD SCREEN KISS, which won critical acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival. He most recently was seen alongside Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman in the 2007 film THE BUCKET LIST, and also appeared with Nathan Lane, Josh Duhamel and Kate Bosworth in the romantic comedy WIN A DATE WITH TAD HAMILTON, and the independent film PIECES OF APRIL. In addition, Hayes lent his voice to the role of diabolical feline Mr. Tinkles in the family hit CATS & DOGS, and was the voice of The Fish in the big-screen adaptation of the Dr. Seuss classic THE CAT IN THE HAT, in which he also appeared as Mr. Humberfloob.

In 2003, Hayes and producing partner Todd Milliner formed Hazy Mills Productions. Their first production, "Situation: Comedy," a documentary television show in search of the next great sitcom, premiered on Bravo in the summer of 2005 and garnered wide critical praise. Current projects in development include "Grimm," "Man and Woman," "The Ten Million Dollar Word," "Cornerstone," "Bi-Coastal," "Eight Days A Week," the remake of the classic comedy feature film "Cinderfella" and "The Most Annoying Man in the World."

EVA (Molly Shannon)

Igor's latest creation is his tour de force - Eva. A giant monster built for one purpose - to be the best evil invention and conquer all at the Evil Science Fair. Just one hitch - she doesn't have an evil bone in her body. Worse, all she wants is to be an actress. She thinks, breathes and eats acting, and believes she would be perfect for the title role in Malaria's new production of "Annie."

MOLLY SHANNON (Eva) returns to primetime this Fall as Kath opposite Selma Blair's Kim in the new NBC comedy "Kath & Kim," based on the successful Australian show of the same name. She was also recently seen in Lifetime's movie "More of Me," starring opposite Steven Weber.

In the feature film world, Shannon most recently received critical acclaim for her moving performance in Mike White's YEAR OF THE DOG. The film focused on a secretary whose life is shattered by the sudden death of her beloved dog, Pencil. The life-changing event leads to new romantic possibilities as well as a new found passion for animal rights. In addition, Shannon was featured in two independent films last year; Sue Kramer's GRAY MATTERS and Bruce Leddy's SHUT UP & SING.

Shannon's numerous film credits include EVAN ALMIGHTY, LITTLE MAN, TALLADEGA NIGHTS: THE BALLAD OF RICKY BOBBY (with Will Ferrell), HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS, SUPERSTAR, (portraying everybody's favorite Catholic schoolgirl, Mary Katherine Gallagher, a character she created on "Saturday Night Live"), A NIGHT AT THE ROXBURY, ANALYZE THIS, and THE SANTA CLAUSE 2, among others.

On television, Shannon was last seen opposite Christopher MacDonald and Jason Schwartzman in the off-beat comedy series, "Cracking Up." She also starred in the USA Network movie, "12 Days of Christmas Eve" and appeared in the remake of the classic musical, "The Music Man," co-starring Matthew Broderick and Kristen Chenoweth. Other television series credits include multiple guest appearances on "Will & Grace" and "Sex and the City," among many others. Additionally, she spent six seasons as a member of the repertory company on "Saturday Night Live," primarily known for the eclectic characters she created, such as Mary Katherine Gallagher. She is also praised for her parodies of Courtney Love, Liza Minnelli, Monica Lewinsky and Meredith Vieira.

Prior to joining "SNL," Shannon appeared at the Up Front Comedy Theater in Los Angeles in "The Rob and Molly Show," an improvisational show which she co-wrote with Rob Muir.


Igor's master, Dr. Glickenstein is a cruel Evil Scientist who treats Igor like dirt. Every year Glickenstein manages to lose the Annual Evil Science Fair and takes it out on poor Igor. When Glickenstein discovers that Igor has been creating his own inventions, he attempts to stop him once and for all, but in doing so sets his own demise in motion.

JOHN CLEESE (Dr. Glickenstein) first shot to fame in the British television series "The Frost Report," in 1966 and in 1969 co-created the celebrated "Monty Python's Flying Circus." The Monty Python team went on to conquer the world with three cult television series and four hugely successful films; AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT, MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL, THE LIFE OF BRIAN and THE MEANING OF LIFE, as well as various international stage shows, before Cleese moved on to create the irrepressible Basil, the hotel manager from hell, in one of the most successful television series ever made - "Fawlty Towers."

In addition to his work with Monty Python, Cleese has appeared in numerous memorable films, including THE GREAT MUPPET CAPER, MARY SHELLEY'S FRANKENSTEIN, JUNGLE BOOK, THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS and OUT OF TOWNERS. In 1988 Cleese co-wrote (with director Charles Crichton) and starred in, A FISH CALLED WANDA, alongside Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline and Michael Palin. The film was one of the most successful British films ever made, garnering Cleese numerous accolades, including Golden Globe® and Oscar® nominations for screenplay and an Italian Oscar for screenplay and a BAFTA award for Best Film Actor. In 1996 Cleese reunited the cast for FIERCE CREATURES.

More recently Cleese has appeared in two James Bond films in the role of Q, 1999's THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH and 2002's DIE ANOTHER DAY. He was also featured in the role of Nearly Headless Nick in two of the Harry Potter installments, THE SORCERER'S STONE and THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS, and lent his voice to the role of King Harold in SHREK 2 and SHREK THE THIRD.

Cleese's writing, directing and acting credits for stage and television also include: "The Secret Policeman's Ball" (1979), which he directed for Amnesty International, and "The Secret Policeman's Other Ball" (1981), which he co-directed for both stage and film, the BBC's production of Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew" (1980) in which he played Pertruchio and "Whoops Apocalypse" (1981) for LWT. He has also appeared in roles on numerous television series including "Cheers," "3rd. Rock From the Sun" and "Will and Grace." Additionally, Cleese has made numerous appearances on "Saturday Night Live" and served as the narrator for Disney's "Mickey Mouse Works" and "House of Mouse" series.

In 1972, he co-founded Video Arts, which swiftly became the leading provider of business training programs on video. Videos for Patients was set up by Cleese with Dr Rob Buckman in 1993, to help improve communication between patients and doctors. There are currently 45 titles in the video series.

In 1983 Cleese published his first book, Families and How To Survive Them (co-written with Dr. Robin Skynner), which was produced as a series for BBC Radio 4 in 1990. Its sequel, Life and How to Survive It, also written with Dr. Robin Skynner was published in 1993.

A graduate of Cambridge University, Cleese has taught at the University of California, Santa Barbara and Cornell University, where in 1998 he was named a Professor-at-Large. He also received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Pomona University in 1999, and in 2002 received an Anglo-American Gold Sovereign Medal from the Smithsonian Institute.


Dr. Schadenfreude is Malaria's most preeminent Evil Scientist, having won 17 Annual Evil Science Fairs in a row. Little does anyone realize that he can't invent his way out of a paper bag and that each year he steals his winning inventions from other Evil Scientists in the Kingdom - taking the credit and the coveted first prize. But winning the Evil Science Fair isn't enough anymore, and now he has his eyes on the throne and manipulates Eva into helping him get there.

EDDIE IZZARD (Dr. Schadenfreude) is already one of the most acclaimed comics of his generation, and is now developing an equally stellar reputation as a film, television and stage actor. His most recent roles include Roman Nagel in OCEAN'S THIRTEEN and Mr. Kite in ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, as well as lending his voice to THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN as Reepicheep and Jerry Seinfeld's BEE MOVIE. In addition, Izzard can be seen in "Kitchen", a new television drama based on Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain's tell-all book about working as a chef in New York.

In April 2008, Izzard embarked on the largest comedy tour of his career. Izzard's one man show, fittingly titled "Stripped," commenced in Boston, Massachusetts on April 28th, with dates continuing through early August, across 30 cities.

This spring, Izzard was seen reprising his role in the final season of the television series "The Riches," which he produced and starred in opposite Minnie Driver, playing Wayne Malloy, a conman who goes through a mid-life crisis and moves to the suburbs with his wife in an attempt to change their lives around.

Izzard's next film role is opposite Tom Cruise in the highly anticipated film VALKYRIE, the true story of a group of German generals who plan to assassinate Nazi leader Adolf Hitler at the height of World War II, which opens December 26, 2008. Izzard made his big-screen debut alongside Bob Hoskins and Robin Williams in the 1996 movie SECRET AGENT. Other notable films Izzard has appeared in include ROMANCE AND CIGARETTES, BLUEBERRY, OCEAN'S TWELVE and as Charlie Chaplin in THE CAT'S MEOW. He delighted children and adults alike as the voice of the Sand Fairy in FIVE CHILDREN AND IT and as the voice of Nigel in the animated movie THE WILD. Other highlights in his movie career include appearing in THE AVENGERS, ALL THE QUEEN'S MEN, and REVENGERS TRAGEDY.

Izzard's stage appearances include roles in David Mamet's "The Cryptogram," the title role in Marlowe's "Edward II; 900 Oneonta" and "A Day in the Death of Joe Egg" in London and on Broadway which won him a number of awards, including a Tony nomination for Best Actor.

Since his first stage appearance on London's West End in 1993 in the one-man show "Live at the Ambassadors," Izzard has inhabited a unique world of his own 'carefully crafted rubbish.' "Live at the Ambassadors" was followed by a succession of critically-acclaimed shows including "Unrepeatable" in 1994, 1996's "Definite Article," "Glorious" in 1997, "Dress to Kill" in 1998, and the 2000 production "Circle."

Izzard's comedic musings have earned him some top awards from Time Out and the Perrier Panel. "Live at the Ambassadors" received an Olivier Award nomination for Outstanding Achievement. He won the British Comedy Award for Top Stand-Up Comedian in 1993 and 1996, and "Dress to Kill" earned him a New York Drama Desk Award and two Emmys®.

JACLYN (Jennifer Coolidge)

As Dr. Schadenfreude's sexy and vain girlfriend, Jaclyn is determined to get a fast ticket to Evil Street. Year after year she helps him win the Evil Science Fair by utilizing her beguiling ways to 'acquire' the other scientists' inventions - okay, stealing them. She is his confidante and, at the same time, a thorn in his side.

JENNIFER COOLIDGE (Jaclyn) is a character actress and experimental comedienne, who has become one of Hollywood's most versatile actors, and is perhaps best known for playing Stifler's mom in the feature film, AMERICAN PIE.

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Coolidge graduated from Emerson College and earned her Bachelor's degree in theatre. A member of New York's Gotham City Improv Group and The Groundlings comedy troupe in Los Angeles, Coolidge made her television debut on NBC's "Seinfeld." She was a regular on the ABC sketch series "She TV," and was a cast member and writer on another sketch comedy series, Fox's "Saturday Night Special" (1996), produced by Roseanne. Coolidge made her big screen debut in NOT OF THIS EARTH, followed by the comedy TRIAL AND ERROR.

Coolidge had her breakthrough role in AMERICAN PIE and recreated the character in the sequels, AMERICAN PIE 2 and AMERICAN WEDDING. She starred as Paulette opposite Reese Witherspoon in LEGALLY BLONDE, and reprised the role for LEGALLY BLONDE 2: RED, WHITE & BLONDE. Coolidge also appeared in "Sex and the City" and had a recurring role in the NBC sitcom "Joey," appearing as Joey's agent Bobbie, and will be seen in the upcoming Lifetime film, "Living Proof."

Coolidge has a no-holds-barred approach to comedy and a vanity-free comfort playing uninhibited characters and delivering lines with sexual innuendo. She has collaborated with director Christopher Guest on films including BEST IN SHOW, A MIGHTY WIND and FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION. Additional feature films include DOWN TO EARTH and AMERICAN DREAMZ. Coolidge's gift for altering her appearance and manner, as well as her mastery of timing, shines in her role as a wicked stepmother in A CINDERELLA STORY (2004) opposite Hilary Duff, for which she received a 2005 Teen Choice Award. She recently completed filming GENTLEMEN BRONCOS, opposite Sam Rockwell and will soon begin filming her first major dramatic role in Werner Herzog's BAD LIEUTENANT opposite Nicolas Cage.


The King of Malaria rules justly and wisely - NOT. He is everyone's friend and cares about his people greatly...or that is what he would have you think. It was the King's idea to blackmail the world with weapons of destruction and he has convinced Malaria that it's good for their economy and so by doing Evil, they are actually doing good. Is it any surprise that this conniving politician isn't always telling the truth?

JAY LENO (King Malbert) has leant his signature voice to numerous motion picture and television projects including ICE AGE: THE MELTDOWN, CARS, ROBOTS, "The Fairly Odd Parents," "The Simpsons" and "Southpark" among others.

Leno is the host of the Emmy® Award-winning and top-rated "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno." With over 15 years at the helm, Leno follows in the footsteps of legendary NBC late-night hosts Steve Allen, Jack Paar and Johnny Carson, while at the same time creating his own unique late-night style with a combination of humor, talk and entertainment. Leno's outstanding and engaging combination has enabled "The Tonight Show" to capture its timeslot for a remarkable 12 consecutive years, while making the show one of the most valuable properties, not just for NBC, but in all of television.

During its 15-year tenure, "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" has experienced numerous highlights, including winning two Emmy® Awards -- the first in 1995 for Outstanding Comedy, Variety or Music Series, and the second in 1996 for Outstanding Technical Direction. In 1999 and 2000, "The Tonight Show" took home the trophy for Favorite Late Night Show in the annual TV Guide Awards determined by voting viewers. Leno's personal highlights include receiving a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, being the first person to drive the pace car at all major NASCAR events, and setting several land speed records.

Prior to becoming host of "Tonight," Leno had been the exclusive guest host of "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" since September 1987. He first appeared as a guest on the show March 2, 1977, and made numerous additional appearances on "Tonight" as well as on NBC's former program "Late Night with David Letterman."

One of the country's premier comedians, Leno has performed hundreds of comedy shows around the United States for the past 20 years. In 2001, he traveled to Bosnia, where he performed for military troops serving in Afghanistan. Leno also traveled to Aviano, Italy, in 1995 to entertain military troops involved with the peacekeeping efforts in Bosnia. He remains passionate about performing in front of live audiences and appears regularly in Las Vegas, on college campuses around the United States, and in other venues.

Leno has authored two New York Times best-selling children's books, How to be the Funniest Kid in the Whole Wide World (Or Just in Your Class) and, If Roast Beef Could Fly, (both from Simon & Schuster). His other book, Leading with My Chin (from HarperCollins), hit the bookstores in 1998. He also has published four versions of Headlines, the compilation of books and desk calendars featuring his favorite funny newspaper headlines, and Police Blotter, a book with more humorous newspaper clips involving police stories (book proceeds go to various charities).

In addition to "The Tonight Show," his appearances around the country, and his writing career, Leno can also include internet star on his resume. In 2006 the car aficionado brought his expertise to the Web; fans can peak into his famous garage by logging on to

CARL CRISTALL (Arsenio Hall)

Malaria's number one television reporter is intense...informed...and invisible. He's also not wearing any pants. That's because he's a professed nudist, which isn't wrong, since people can't see anything. But it does give a whole new meaning to "the naked truth."

ARSENIO HALL (Carl Cristall), became a household name with the success of his Emmy®-Award winning late night talk show "The Arsenio Hall Show" but the versatile actor, comedian, and producer first became involved in the arts at the Cleveland Playhouse, and continued to hone his craft throughout his Kent State University years.

In 1979, Hall moved to Chicago where he tried his hand at stand-up comedy and was discovered by jazz singer Nancy Wilson. In the following years, Hall toured extensively, opening for major headliners including Patti LaBelle, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner and Stevie Wonder. Hall also made appearances on numerous television shows including "Solid Gold" and "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson" as well as his first film appearance in AMAZON WOMEN ON THE MOON, directed by John Landis.

In 1987, Hall was asked to replace Joan Rivers on the Fox Network series "The Late Show." On the strength of his work as interim host, he was signed to a film and television deal with Paramount Pictures, which subsequently led to the opportunity to co-write and co-star in the hit comedy COMING TO AMERICA.

On January 3, 1989, "The Arsenio Hall Show" made its debut, and virtually overnight Hall changed the face of late night television by captivating young viewers across the country. During his successful five-year run as executive producer and host, Hall provided a forum for cutting-edge comedy, politics and the television debut of such pop superstars as Mariah Carey, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Boyz to Men and countless others. In 1994, Hall resigned from the late night gabfest to pursue other personal and professional interests.

In 1998, Hall joined the cast of the dramedy, "Martial Law," spending two years in the role of Terrell Parker, a streetwise L.A.P.D. detective. He followed this up with a two-season stint as host of the new "Star Search," and then, taking on his most challenging task to date, he returned to stand-up comedy, touring for the first time in over a decade.

Hall will next star as host of the upcoming weekly series "Funniest Moments," a one-hour show capturing life's most outrageous moments on tape, which will debut on MyNetworkTV in October, 2008.


The most ruthless Evil Scientist in Malaria needs his Igor to be a cruel, heartless instrument of deception. But all Dr. Schadenfreude's Igor really wants to be is his master's best friend.

CHRISTIAN SLATER (Dr. Schadenfreude's Igor) has an impressive career that has firmly established him as one of the most talented actors of his generation.

Slater will next star in NBC's new drama "My Own Worst Enemy," premiering October 13, 2008, as Henry Spivey, a man with two lives and personalities. In 2007, Slater returned to London to star in the sold-out play "Swimming with Sharks," directed by Wilson Milan, in which he plays producer Buddy Ackerman, the mastermind of a top studio's high-grossing, ultra-violent horror slate, and one of Hollywood's most powerful men.

In 2007, Slater starred opposite Anthony Hopkins in the film SLIPSTREAM, which Hopkins also wrote and directed and which was screened at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. Additional recent film credits include roles in HE WAS A QUIET MAN and BOBBY, which was written and directed by Emilio Estevez. In 2006, Slater reprised his critically acclaimed role as Randle P. McMurphy in the Really Useful Group's London production of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."

In 2005, Slater starred in "The Glass Menagerie" on Broadway opposite Jessica Lange in the role of Tom, for which he received an award for Favorite Featured Actor in a Broadway Play at the Audience Awards. Also in 2005, Slater starred in CHURCHILL: THE HOLLYWOOD YEARS, opposite Neve Campbell. In 2002 and 2003, Slater made his mark on primetime television with guest-star character arcs on "The West Wing" and "Alias."

Making his film debut in 1985 in THE LEGEND OF BILLIE JEAN, Slater's extensive film credits prove his versatility to excel in various genres. As an action hero, he was seen in WINDTALKERS, opposite Nicolas Cage, and BROKEN ARROW with John Travolta. Slater has also portrayed many cult-following characters including his unforgettable performances as Clarence Worley in TRUE ROMANCE, as Robert Boyd in VERY BAD THINGS and as Jason Dean in HEATHERS. His other film credits include THE CONTENDER, BED OF ROSES, MURDER IN THE FIRST, INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE, UNTAMED HEART, PUMP UP THE VOLUME, THE NAME OF THE ROSE, TUCKER: THE MAN AND HIS DREAM and GLEAMING THE CUBE.

Slater's producing credits include BASIL and HARD RAIN, both of which he also starred in. He also served as executive producer on Peter Berg's VERY BAD THINGS. In 1996, Slater made his directorial debut with "Museum of Love," a short film for Showtime.

An alum of the prestigious Dalton School and the Professional Children's School in New York City, Slater debuted on Broadway at the age of nine in "The Music Man," alongside Dick Van Dyke, and went on to play the title lead in "Oliver." More recently, Slater garnered critical acclaim for his starring role in the Broadway production of "Sideman." Additional Broadway credits include roles in "Macbeth," "David Copperfield" and "Merlin." Off-Broadway, Slater starred in such productions as "Landscape of the Body," "Between Daylight," "Boonville," "Dry Land" and "Somewhere's Better."

Subscribe to Movies Reviews by Film Critic Michael Phillips  RSS     Movies Reviews by Film Critic Michael Phillips   SHARE

Receive Movie Reviews
Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


Home > Entertainment > Movies >

Search Powered by Google
Google Search

RECENT MOVIE REVIEWS         Subscribe to Movie Reviews from Michael Phillips RSS

Receive Movie Reviews
Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner ENTERTAINMENT:


  Film Critic Michael Phillips on Video

Chicago Tribune Film Critic Michael Phillips serves up his latest movie reviews on video.

Click Here for More


Search Powered by Google
Google Search


Igor Movie Review. Film Critic Michael Phillips Reviews the Animated FeatureIgor
John Cusack, Steve Buscemi, John Cleese, Jennifer Coolidge, Arsenio Hall, Sean Hayes, Eddie Izzard, Jay Leno, Molly Shannon