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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, March 29, 2002

Time warp: 'Clockstoppers' may make you wish for a speedier ending

By Marshall Fine
The (Westchester N.Y.) Journal News

CLOCKSTOPPERS (Rated PG for violence, adult themes) Two and One-Half Stars (Fair-to-Good)

A Nickelodeon movie about a teen who finds a wristwatch that allows him to stop time. Aimed squarely at the 10-year-old audience; parents, beware of having to sit through this one. Starring Jesse Bradford, French Stewart, Michael Biehn. Directed by Jonathan Frakes. Paramount Pictures, 94 minutes.

"Clockstoppers" is a Nickelodeon film, which tells you everything you need to know about it.

That brand name tips you off that it's a state-of-the-art special-effects adventure aimed squarely at the 7- to 10-year-old set. In other words, it's a movie for kids that throws few bones to the inevitable adults who will be forced to accompany the target audience to the multiplex. It's not terrible, just terribly mundane and far-fetched.

Jesse Bradford plays Zak Gibbs, a high-school student whose father is a famous scientist in that popular discipline known as time manipulation. A former student of Zak's dad, Earl Dopler (French Stewart), has applied his teachings on quantum temporal shenanigans and created a device that launches the user into hypertime.

This means the hypertime-traveler's molecules speed up until the real world looks as though it has stopped. But while the hypertime-traveler can now make a second last an hour, he also risks aging himself at super speed as well. Dopler, who has been developing this gadget for the evil Quantum Technologies, can't crack the aging problem and sends an unauthorized copy of the device to Dr. Gibbs to get his input.

Instead, the device winds up on the wrist of Zak, who quickly catches on to its applications. When Quantum Technologies kidnaps Zak's father, it's up to Zak, Dopler and Zak's new girlfriend, Francesca (Paula Garces), to rescue him.

Directed by Jonathan Frakes (who played William Riker on "Star Trek: The Next Generation"), "Clockstoppers" is an elaborate version of the made-for-Nick movies that show up on Saturday nights. It features the kind of performance from Bradford that, in a better movie, would be considered a breakout turn. He injects life and wit into formulaic material, making it slightly easier to take.

But only slightly. Your kids will enjoy "Clockstoppers." Adults, meanwhile, will discover that there's truth in advertising, because watching this movie will make you feel that time has, in fact, stopped.

Rated PG for violence, adult themes.