One of the 90's big ideas, among others, was to adapt animated shows into live-action feature films. From The Flintstones to Inspector Gadget, it didn't matter how obscure or unadaptable the source material was as long as an attempt was made to cash-in on its name somehow.
Leslie Nielsen was therefore cast as Mr. Magoo, the old man with poor eyesight who very nearly misses fatal accidents thanks to pure luck. Nielsen, while not really looking much like the character, was a solid choice since, even in the worst movies, he can usually get a laugh. The film opens appropriately by showing you a short Magoo cartoon but as soon as the live-action part starts, you'll be wishing the cartoon had kept playing. This should have been an easy project: give Leslie Nielsen some funny lines, follow him as he goes around causing mayhem all around him. And yet, right off the bat, it's impossible to hear Nielsen's incessant ramblings due to an annoying over-the-top score underlining every single goofy moment twice and we get a generic jewel thief plot that gets tired fast. The directing but especially the editing are abysmal ruining what could have been a really fun kids' movie.
To be fair, this isn't an unpleasant watch and Leslie Nielsen is such a funny, talented actor that he can't help but pull a chuckle out of you here and there. One absurd but amusing scene sees Magoo disguise himself as a mobster and the results are just as silly as you'd expect. It's a shame that the film relies so much on corny Home Alone-type pratfalls, underlined of course by loud sound effects, because, with some creative set-pieces, a script more centered around Magoo himself and competent direction/editing, this could have been at least a solid comedy, sort of like Baby's Day Out which was basically the same type of deal except well made. The film, believe it or not, has a solid cast which includes Jennifer Garner, Miguel Ferrer, Malcolm McDowell and Ernie Hudson but none of them are given anything clever or funny to do. The only reason to check out this movie is if you're a die-hard Magoo fan, a not too demanding young kid or you just like Leslie Nielsen.
There are certainly worst films than Mr. Magoo out there but this is still a poorly made, messy film and even if the source material was dated even then, it deserved better, especially from Disney. Leslie Nielsen is always great to watch, however, and the whole thing is frankly harmless.
Oh Magoo, you've done it again...