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No movie monster has bounced back more heartily than Chucky. The string of outlandish sequels released since 1988’s “Child’s Play” have found a half-dozen ways for the possessed doll to return for more evil pursuits. The new “Child’s Play” reboot finds one more, with a bigger budget and more audacious satire, but rarely has a movie begged to shed the baggage of its past more than this one. Rather than paying tribute to the original concept, director Lars Klevberg and screenwriter Tyler Burton Smith scribble over Don Mancini’s franchise by turning Chucky into a robot menace — think HAL 9000 with a knife — which raises the question of why they needed to mess with a series that has maintained its own zany rhythms for 30 years.
Say what you will about the “Chucky” movies, but as recently as 2017’s “Cult of Chucky,” Mancini maintained a consistent B-movie inspiration that kept the series in a campy tradition closer to Ed Wood than John Carpenter. The new “Child’s Play” ignores that history in favor of a bigger budget and grander ideas. But even as the cartoonish horror-comedy occasionally lands some playful jabs at modern technology, this oddball blend of ’80s nostalgia and contemporary humor never quite lands the smart-scary balance in its sights.
Mom - Karen - Aubrey - Plaza - Points
As bored single mom Karen, the ever-endearing Aubrey Plaza points to the cocky agenda in play, but the Chucky story still belongs to Andy (Gabriel Bateman), the energetic adolescent who’s gifted the doll on his birthday. The son to a very young single mother (“I had a productive sweet 16,” Plaza tells a co-worker), Andy’s given the latest edition of a “Buddi,” a high-tech product equal parts Alexa and Furby, which follows him around the house and begs to be his friend. As the pair just moved into town and...
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