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Slapstick lends `Borrowers' most of its laughs

In truth, what this uneven kid's film is frighteningly similar to in execution and in content is last year's live-action cartoon "Mouse Hunt" - though it lacks that film's mean-spirited nature.

And like "Mouse Hunt," there are way too many juvenile and vulgar gags for a movie that's supposed to be aimed at an all-ages audience. (Believe it or not, there's even a painfully unfunny bit involving a cheese-eating dog and flatulence.)

The target for our wee heroes the Clocks - father Pod (Jim Broadbent), mother Homily (Celia Imrie), teenage daughter Arrietty (Flora Newbigin) and young son Peagreen (Tom Felton) - is Ocious P. Potter (John Goodman), a greedy attorney who's trying to force them out of their home so he can turn it into an apartment complex.

And he's already succeeded in forcing out the home's normal-sized owners, the Lenders (get the joke?), who don't know there's a document hidden in the walls that proves their claim to the house.

But with some help from young Pete Lender (Bradley Pierce), the Clocks try to find the will - as they also try to avoid being squashed by Potter and a determined exterminator (Mark Williams, from "101 Dalmations").

To be fair, the production values are great, as are the effects, and the cast is pretty appealing. However, more often than not the story takes a back seat to slapstick comedy, which will probably delight some younger viewers, but which will wear out their parents in a big hurry.

"The Borrowers" is rated PG for slapstick violence, some pretty tasteless and vulgar jokes and sight gags and use of a couple of mild profanities.