Batman and Robin fend off a series of ice puns and a horny plant-woman.
Directed by Joel Schumacher
Starring George Clooney, Chris O'Donnell, and Arnold Schwarzenegger
Review by Jon Kissel
The most charitable stance towards Batman and Robin is that it’s a throwback to the silly roots of the Adam West series. That would require any part of this film to be fun. Camp requires commitment to the bit, or even better, not knowing that the bit exists in the first place. Commitment is a pipe dream here. There’s not a single redemptive moment for any of the actors, partly because of the braindead material they’re given and partly because they can’t elevate what little there is. George Clooney has never been worse, nor has his eyes-down-and-then-up acting shortcut been more apparent. To his credit, he’s acknowledged this to be the case in interviews. Chris O’Donnell and Alicia Silverstone are sleep-walking, and Arnold Schwarzeneggar is making a fool of himself with nonstop ice puns. Uma Thurman comes off the best through force of will, turning her horribly written character into the closest version of acceptable that was possible, but that’s not saying much.
It’s not like the general crappiness of Batman and Robin ends with the writing and the acting. The production design, so memorably established by Tim Burton in the earlier entries, looks like a shoddy theme park. The choreography is held captive by an instruction to grab the Mountain Dew extreme sports crowd, so everything’s on skates. The cinematography breaks with movie logic (who’s filming these Freeze home videos) while also falling back on hacky Dutch angles. Poison Ivy’s costume has strands of ivy tucked into her leotard, which itself looks like it came out of a JC Penney’s discount bin. No one is trying, and the result is a stain on the entire cast and crew’s resume. An F is usually saved for a movie that makes me angry. Batman and Robin earns that grade despite being too empty to generate any feeling at all. F