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THE HAUNTED MANSION

Eddie Murphy continues his downward trajectory from R-rated comedian to boring family man with this kids’ comedy from Disney. As he proved in The Nutty Professor, Murphy can still be funny while doing family-oriented comedy; here, however, he and everyone else are working on autopilot. His Jim Evers is an ambitious real-estate agent who can’t resist interrupting the family vacation to stop at a potential client’s house; there they encounter such ghostly luminaries as Terence Stamp and Wallace Shawn (who do their best given what they have to work with), and Jim learns to value spending time with his family over his BMW and his Cartier watch. Director Rob Minkoff (Stuart Little) creates some neat special effects, like Jennifer Tilly’s headless Gypsy (she’s encased in her own crystal ball), and there are a few genuine laughs, along with a handful of scary moments to hint at the film that might have been. (99 minutes) At the Boston Common, the Fenway, the Fresh Pond, and the Circle and in the suburbs.


Issue Date: November 28 - December 4, 2003
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