Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger, while not revolutionizing the format, represent a snappy, frivolous voice within the endless procession of big-budget CGI features. They penned the “Kung Fu Panda” movies, which were both jocular, jaunty and generally jolly good times. They also have credits on “Monsters & Aliens,” the “Alvin & Chipmunks” squeakquels, and cut their teeth with “King of the Hill.”
Let’s hope their long-standing immersion in the physics-less world of cartoons doesn’t enter too deeply into their re-tooling of the Reese Witherspoon project, “Wish List.” Early plot details center the story on a girl who’s really focused on her career and is thrown for a loop when all her childhood wishes are suddenly granted. This premise plus Reese Witherspoon caché/financing plus writers coming out of a 10-year fog of animation logic might (and we’re just saying “might”) be the formula for another overblown special effects based fantasy comedy in the realm of (gulp) “Bedtime Stories.” The thought alone makes us shudder. However, minus the misanthropic bile of Adam Sandler’s worldview and plus two passably witty Hollywood scribes makes for a slightly less abrasive equation.
The script has been around since 2001 and was originally written for a male lead — we’re guessing with Jim Carrey or, uh… you know…Adam Sandler in mind. And it’s finally found a home with Witherspoon and Mayhem Pictures producers Mark Ciardi and Gordon Gray. Aibel and Berger were hired to re-route the gender and perhaps brush some of the pop-culture dust off the 11-year-old screenplay.
The writers’ vacation from entertaining infantilism ends after “Wish List” though. Their next job is to adapt “Candyland” for the big screen. [THR]