Reviewer's grade: C
Mr. Magorium (Dustin Hoffman) is a 243-year-old toy inventor who owns the Wonder Emporium, the greatest toy store in all the world. The Emporium is managed by Molly Mahoney (Natalie Portman, who still refuses to grow her hair out), who was once a musical prodigy, but now a 20something who never quite got the ball rolling on her career. Mahoney finally has decided to seek her fortune elsewhere when Magorium tells her he's "departing" and is leaving the Emporium to her. There's only one problem: Magorium is magical, and Mahoney isn't. Or is she? With a little help from a nerdy, hat-collecting kid (Zach Mills) and a stiff accountant (Jason Bateman), Mahoney will figure things out.
The premise itself isn't too bad, but writer/director Zach Helm tries to meld too much little-kid silliness (the movie's G-rated) with a too-dark theme of death-by-magical-suicide. The two elements cancel each other out, and add in poor character development and an over-reliance on special effects and you have an expensive but unsatisfying waste of talented actors and CGI people. G