14 November 2010 | Michael_Elliott
Yet Another Strange One from Castle
** (out of 4)
Off beat production from William Castle about Professor Jonathan Jones (Tom Poston) who discovers the mysterious powers of an ancient coin. It turns out that if you hold the coin and use your finger to point at something then you can make it blow up, slow down or do various other tricks. Jones plans to do the patriotic thing and turn it over to the government but sure enough things don't go as planned. I've been fairly critical of Castle and some of the films he made during this period of his career and while this movie isn't nearly as bad as some I still couldn't help but scratch my head and wonder who this thing was meant for. I'm going to guess that this thing was meant to be a rip-off of THE ABSENT MINDED PROFESSOR but no matter what it was trying to do in the end it fails. I think the biggest problem is that the screenplay is pretty lame and director Castle clearly has proved that he wasn't the best when it came to comedy. The screenplay pretty much has Poston doing on silly thing after another as soon as he discovers the powers of this coin. We get one scene after another where he either accidentally destroys something with the coin or he tries to prove the coins powers to people and they simply don't see it. Take a look at one scene where the Professor turns loose a lot of mice at a party with plans of "zapping" them but it turns out he left the coin at home. This is a scene that could have worked but it just comes across very empty in terms of laughs and extremely uneven. Another problem happens at the end once Poston has all these people trying to track him down. It's simply not funny. Poston is fairly good in his role as you certainly believe he's absent minded but the screenplay doesn't give him much to work with. Julia Meade, Fred Clark and Jim Backus have supporting roles that are fairly lifeless due to the screenplay. ZOTZ! moves along at a decent pace but when you watch a comedy you expect laughs and this one here just doesn't have enough to make it worth viewing.