Based on a Jacqueline Wilson novel that is itself inspired by the children’s classic by Edith Nesbit, Four Kids And It is a mashup of contemporary tropes – blended families and celebrity ambitions – with the timeless device of a cantankerous, wish-granting sand troll. The Psammead is a lop-eared, trash-hoarding grouch, with the wisdom of the ages and the voice of a used car salesman. The voice, provided by Michael Caine, is the issue: too distinctive, too distracting, too geezerish to sit comfortably in the squat, hairy form of an ancient mystical creature, it drains what magic there is out of this workmanlike fantasy.
The Psammead would rather bury his head in the sand than grant wishes to the kids – and you can’t exactly blame him. These children are not over-endowed with personal charm. Worse, however, is Tristan (Russell Brand), the local toff who lives in a clifftop mansion entirely decorated with bits of endangered species, and who has set his sights on adding the Psammead to his collection.
This should amuse the younger members of the family, but it’s unlikely to offer much more to parents than a couple of hours’ respite.
• Four Kids and It is available on Sky Movies
Source: The Guardian