Saturday, November 12, 2005

Hamilton Mattress (Purves, 2001)

A kind of poor man’s Wallace and Gromit, Hamilton Mattress is the tale of an aardvark with a dream. Now I know what you’re thinking … what could an aardvark possibly dream about that would be worth the trouble of two years of painstaking stop-motion animation work? Well, let me tell you. How about a decent pair of trousers? Still with me? To be fair, the trousers are indeed merely a device to get the critter out of the desert and into the big city where he can wow snobby club goers with his virtuoso drumming skills. That’s right. This stocky mammal’s got mad skillz. He can lay down some dope beats. Unfortunately, he’s also got a mug so ugly that his new employer has to hide him behind copious amounts of foliage. Will Mr. Mattress find happiness, acceptance and a decent pair of slacks? While it’s conceivable that this premise could have served for a decent kid’s film, Hamilton Mattress only succeeds in achieving moderate interest and the occasional laugh. Although it’s hard not to want a character as innocent as Hamilton to succeed, he lacks the kind of charisma that would really allow a viewer to become invested in his quest. The plot unfolds in such a conventional manner that, although we may not be able to predict specific events, the pacing and arc both lull the viewer into imagining the inevitable ending long before it arrives on screen. Hamilton Mattress is passable entertainment for the undiscerning, but it wouldn’t be terribly difficult to find something more satisfying.


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