Sam Raimi brings the jokey, adolescent sensibility of his Drag Me to Hell to this lavish Wizard of Oz prequel, and the result is as unshapely as that premise would suggest. The special effects are imaginative and the script (cowritten by Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist David Lindsay-Abaire) has some nice sentiments about the power of illusion. But Raimi seems unwilling (or perhaps unable) to take any of it seriously, racing through scenes that ought to inspire wonder or playing the material for cheap, sarcastic laughs. He's found an ideal leading man in James Franco, whose smug, incredulous line readings suggest he took the role as inside joke. With Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz, and Mila Kunis.
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