Midlife crisis may be the strangest kid's movie sell since the The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas
tackled adult date life. But giving the friendly ogre an It's a Wonderful Life
experience provides his most inspired adventure. Making a corrupt deal with Rumplestiltskin that shows him the land of Far Far Away had he never been born, Shrek finds himself in a movie formula to which he's not accustomed. But added story touches, like a world where ogres are consistently hunted by witches on broomsticks, and improved background animation (the characters still look a little too much like rubber dog toys), make for more engrossing movie-going than the stale leftovers of Shrek the Third
. At least for its first half. Shrek Forever After
runs out of tricks after its setup. With the ground rules set, it's left with nothing to do but resolve itself.