Clockstoppers

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Who hasn’t wished they could stop time? Just think: You could leave your house 30 seconds before you were supposed to be at work, stop time, drive to the office, and then start time again. It would be great!

Another use would be if you’ve just begun watching a movie that you HAVE to watch and you realize it’s very dull. You could stop time, go get something interesting to read or take some drugs, then come back and let the movie run its course while you entertain yourself.

That is the case with “Clockstoppers,” and if I’m the only critic to make the point about time seeming to move really slowly during the film — both onscreen and off — then I’ll eat my hat. (It’s one of those hats with the “press” card in the band, like in cartoons.)

It is from Nickelodeon, which can manufacture entertaining kids’ stuff when it wants to, but which apparently didn’t want to here.

“Clockstoppers” tells of Zak Gibbs (Jesse Bradford, from “Bring It On”), a high school student whose dad is a brilliant scientist who has no time for his kids. Somehow Zak gets a hold of a watch sent to his dad by one of Dad’s former students, Dr. Earl Dopler (French Stewart). This watch has the ability to slow down time — or, more accurately, to speed up the wearer’s molecules so that he moves really fast, while the world around him slows to an imperceptible crawl.

There are bad guys who want this watch for purposes not explained very well — presuambly to take over the world, I guess, though I think the government’s involved. Zak and his love interest, foreign girl Francesca (Paula Garces), must flee, save Zak’s dad, and save the world (I guess).

The premise lends itself to numerous fun possibilities, few of which are explored. The special effects are nifty, but it’s all done so dully, as if no one had any fun, except Jesse Bradford, who gets to do bicycle tricks and kiss a pretty girl. The direction, by “Star Trek’s” Jonathan Frakes, is uninspired, and the script — attributed to three people, with the story by those three and a fourth — is witless. Such a fine idea for a film, and such a stultifying, lifeless execution.

D+ (; PG, some very mild profanity, some mild violence.)

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