From Kenn Viselman, the marketing genius (not creator) behind such franchises as Teletubbies, comes the adventuriffic 2012 kids' film The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure, based on costumed characters in a 2009 series of PSAs, who in turn are the watered-down versions of a little-known 2004 kids' show called My Bedbugs, whose rights were sold off to Viselman by its owners as their production company was about to be shut down during the 2008 economic meltdown.
And yes, this is a theatrically-released film, not a Direct to Video movie.
As Goobie, Zoozie, and Toofie work with their friends J. Edgar the vacuum cleaner, Windy Window, and Ruffy the Goldfish to organize a surprise party for their friend Schluufy the Pillow, J. Edgar trips and loses the last five magical balloons in all of Lovelyloveville, setting the Oogieloves to find them all in time. Along the way, they meet a variety of characters (including a polka dot-obsessed woman played by Cloris Leachman and a cowboy/mariachi played by Christopher Lloyd) who help them out in their quest.
The Oogieloves came about after Viselman saw Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail and observed the audience shouting advice to the characters. He figured he could work backward from that idea by making an interactive aspect with a children's movie around it, with auditory and visual cues telling kids when to sing, dance, and respond to the on-screen action, as well as when to sit down.
It is considered by many to be one of the biggest box office bombs of all time, underperforming Delgo in its opening weekend as one of the lowest-grossing wide-release films. It eventually made more money in its lifetime than Delgo, as Delgo only appeared in theaters for a single week, while Oogieloves lasted 23 days, grossing only $1 million against a $20 million production budget.
This film contains examples of:
- Adaptation Name Change: Woozy's and Snoozy's names change to Zoozie and Schluufy in the film.
- Alliterative Name: Several characters or groups of characters.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: Goobie refuses to believe that the balloons are magical and can talk, stating that it is scientifically impossible. This despite the fact they live in a house with a magic talking window, a talking pillow, and a talking vacuum cleaner.
- Artistic License Physics: Apparently if a balloon is somehow attached to the horizontal stabilizer on the tail of a full size plane, it cannot take off. At all. As one reviewer put it:"No, no, no! That's fucking stupid and you don't put something that absolutely idiotic in a fuckin' children's film, that's going to teach kids incredibly stupid things! God, fuck this movie! Jesus...CHRIST!!"
- AstroTurf: The movie's rating on IMDb used to be quite high (peaking at 8.1, and reaching 6.0) due to lots of sock puppets of the producers, as 82.1% of the overall voters gave it 10/10, yet the ratings by demographics (read: by users who bothered to fill out their profile info, which most astroturfers don't) mostly hover around the more realistic 2 to 4 points range. Furthermore, almost all of the positive reviews are the only reviews of their authors and many have dubious formatting (paragraph breaks in mid-sentence) and/or fall victim to a Translation Train Wreck, all clear signs of astroturfing.note
- Audience Participation: Strongly encouraged here.
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe: All over the film, especially in the climax.
- Character Name and the Noun Phrase: The Oogieloves are the leads of the film and have to restore the balloons.
- Cordon Bleugh Chef: The Oogieloves have a rather strange taste in milkshakes, but it's one Milky Marvin is willing to cater to.
- Crunchtastic: The characters all have a Catchphrase with this type of word.
- Deus ex Machina: At the climax, the balloons get lost again, but the Oogieloves blow kisses for them to return.
- Excuse Plot: The plot is not so much threadbare as it is a single fraying string. As pointed out by The Cinema Snob
- While J. Edgar claims he can't just buy more balloons because these were the last five magical ones in the land, the Oogieloves have plenty of other fantastic inventions they could just give Schluufy as a present instead. He wouldn't even notice, as he was asleep during most of the film and turns out to have the mind of a baby.
- At the climax, the Oogieloves lose the balloons again but summon them back with kisses. It's never said why they didn't do this in the first place.
- As pointed out by Bobsheaux, there are many other ways the Oogieloves could've gotten the balloons. They could've just simply asked the people for their balloons back or get a ladder to climb up to get the higher placed ones, rather than having to do half of the things they do in order to find get the balloons back.
- Flat Character: Every single character. The closest to having a personality is Ruffy, and even then his basic character is being grumpy.
- Goofy Print Underwear: Toofie's underwear has bunnies on it.
- Hipster: Goobie is certainly dressed like one.
- If My Calculations Are Correct: Goobie's catchphrase.
- Like Is, Like, a Comma: How Jubilee Rounder talks.
- Magic Mirror: Windy functions as one, as she is able to find the location of the lost balloons upon request.
- Meaningful Name: Dottie Rounder loves polka-dots and circles. Milky Marvin runs a milkshake restaurant. Rosalie Rosebud loves roses. Bobby Wobbly loves wobbling. Lola and Lero Sombrero live in a flying sombrero.
- Merchandise-Driven: This seems to be the idea behind the Oogieloves film's conception, but given its failure, none was ever distributed.
- Ms. Fanservice: Rosalie Rosebud, played by R&B singer Toni Braxton.
- No Antagonist: The only real problem is finding the balloons.
- No Indoor Voice: The Oogieloves themselves.
- Omniglot: Zoozie can speak every language, including animal talk.
- Owls Ask "Who?": Despite allegedly speaking fluent animal, Zoozie encounters this problem when asking an owl where Milky Marvin is.
- Parental Bonus: Multiple attempts, but they're all really transparent. Who in the target audience would understand the reference to the vacuum being named J. Edgar?
- People in Rubber Suits: Well, maybe not rubber, but it's still very conspicuous.
- Phrase Catcher: The audience is supposed to say "Goofy Toofie! Pick up your pants!" whenever Toofie's pants fall down. It happens a lot.
- The Power of Love: Towards the end the Oogieloves blow kisses to call the balloons back and call the audience to do the same.
- Running Gag: Goofy Toofie! Pick up your pants!
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Goobie loves to speak in big words.
- Speaks Fluent Animal: Zoozie claims she can speak any language, and talks to animals throughout the film.
- Spexico: Lero and Lola Sombrero embody this trope, despite neither being played by a Spanish or Hispanic actor.
- Sugar Bowl: The 1950s-inspired Lovelyloveville.
- Title Drop: "Good luck on your Big Balloon Adventure!" is said by all the guest stars at the end of their segments.
- Toilet Humor:
- Ruffy burps after drinking a milkshake in a contest.
- "This is Penelope! Her bunions are bothering her, and she's gassy."
- Valley Girl: Dottie's granddaughter Jubilee has the speech patterns of one, using "like" and "totally" repeatedly in her conversations with the Oogieloves. She also refers to things she thinks is cool as "totally square", relating back to her square obsession.