I suppose that I should be kinder about this than I want to be, because it is, after all, a PG rated movie.
But we should have established by now that I am an awful person, so I’m going to say what I think.
This is not a good movie. Jack Black takes the part of R.L. Stine, author of Goosebumps kids books. Except I wonder if perhaps R.L. Stine should have played himself because Mr Black’s performance is pretty hokey.
The plot is thin. So thin you can hold it up to the moonlight and marvel at the simplicity. A handsome boy moves to a new town because of sad reasons. His next door neighbours are weird but the daughter is inexplicably cute and friendly.
But all is not as it seems! Which is good because what it seems like is happening is that the dad (R.L. Stine as played by Jack Black) is holding his daughter prisoner in their own house. She isn’t allowed to go to school, she’s home-schooled. He nails up gaps in the fences, shouts at strangers to stay away, and shouts so loudly at her in the house that he is easily overheard by the next door neighbours. But when the (comedy) cops turn up, it is all hand-waved away without a welfare check. What the hell kind of message is this scenario sending to kids?!
Domestic abuse isn’t funny.
But it’s ok because the young male saviour is there now and they can fall helplessly in love while the monsters escape from her father’s books and raise merry hell in the town.
On second thoughts, I retract my earlier statement.
This is a bad movie. And it isn’t even funny.