Mr. Magoo (film)

Mr. Magoo is a 1997 American comedy film directed by Hong Kong film veteran Stanley Tong (his sole English language film) and written by Pat Proft and Tom Sherohman. A live-action film adaptation of UPA's cartoon of the same name, it was produced by Walt Disney Pictures, and stars Leslie Nielsen as the title character, alongside Kelly Lynch, Matt Keeslar, Nick Chinlund, Stephen Tobolowsky, Ernie Hudson, Jennifer Garner and Malcolm McDowell.

Mr. Magoo
Mr magoo.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byStanley Tong
Produced byBen Myron
Written by
Based onMr. Magoo
by Millard Kaufman and
John Hubley
Music byMike Tavera
CinematographyJingle Ma
Edited by
  • Michael R. Miller
  • Stuart Pappé
  • David Rawlins
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures
Release date
  • December 25, 1997 (1997-12-25)
Running time
87 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$30 million
Box office$28.9 million[1]

The film was a critical and commercial failure, grossing $28 million, falling short of its $30 million budget.

Criticism singled out the seemingly mocking portrayal of people with disabilities[citation needed] although The Walt Disney Company placed a disclaimer right before the closing credits.


Mr. Quincy Magoo (Leslie Nielsen), a wealthy but extremely near-sighted canned vegetable factory owner, goes to the museum to attend a party. While there, Waldo (Matt Keeslar), Mr. Magoo's nephew, spies a woman named Stacey Sampanahoditra (Jennifer Garner), on whom he develops a crush. Later that night, jewel thieves Luanne LeSeur (Kelly Lynch) and Bob Morgan (Nick Chinlund) steal the museum's beautiful ruby "The Star of Kuristan" and escape on a boat to Austin Cloquet (Malcolm McDowell), Bob's boss.

Meanwhile, Mr. Magoo and his dog Angus go fishing in the same area as the jewel thieves' boat. Luanne picks a fight with Bob and in the scuffle, they lose the ruby which lands in Mr. Magoo's boat unbeknownst to Magoo. Bob goes after the ruby but fails by falling onto the paddle wheel of a paddle boat.

At the museum, the curator and Stacey send two agents: Gustav Anders of the CIA (Ernie Hudson) and Chuck Stupak of the FBI (Stephen Tobolowsky) to track down the ruby and spy on Mr. Magoo, who they believe stole the ruby. Stacey mentions she was invited to the opera where the Magoos go that night. Anders and Stupak also visit the opera to look for Mr. Magoo who is in the show. At the opera Mr. Magoo meets Luanne who pretends to be a magazine reporter named Prunella Pagliachi. She wishes Mr. Magoo luck at the opera, who immediately takes a liking to her. Stupak sneaks on the stage and fails to find any clue about Mr. Magoo with Mr. Magoo accidentally hitting Stupak with a big tool.

The next morning, Luanne tricks Mr. Magoo into taking her to his house with an injured ankle. Stupak finds a notebook with Luanne's fingerprints on it and realizes who Mr. Magoo is with. He and Anders go to Mr. Magoo's house where Stupak sneaks in looking for the ruby. Mr. Magoo and Luanne arrive at the house and Stupak hides from them. Bob sneaks into Mr. Magoo's house and finds the ruby. Upon being caught in the act, he steals Mr. Magoo's prized Studebaker with the Magoos and Luanne chasing after him in Magoo's Eggplant-mobile. Bob loses them and brings the ruby to Austin.

Austin plans an auction for his criminal friends from around the world and shows them the ruby. Mr. Magoo disguises himself as Ortega Peru, a thief from Brazil who never goes anywhere and joins the auction which is taking place in a communal indoor pool. However, he is discovered when the fake tattoo on his chest is washed away by the water. Luanne breaks up the auction, steals the ruby, and escapes on a snowmobile away from the lair. The government arrests Austin and his friends while Mr. Magoo gives chase on an ironing board and winds up in the middle of a women's skiing competition. Waldo and Angus sneak out of the lair, catch up with Magoo, and track down the ruby.

Angus sees Luanne in disguise as an old woman and spills her purse which gives Mr. Magoo and Waldo a clue about where Luanne is going. The Magoos follow Luanne to Brazil where Waldo spies on the real Ortega (Miguel Ferrer) and his friends. Mr. Magoo steals a bride dress from Ortega's girlfriend Rosita (Monique Rusu) and is led to the wedding. Mr. Magoo steals the ruby from Ortega and finds himself being chased by Peru's men, the government agents and Luanne. Magoo then is trapped on a raft just before it goes over a waterfall but manages to invert the raft like a parachute so he can gently float to safety. He and Waldo return the ruby to the museum with the government arresting Ortega, Luanne and the people from Brazil.

Mr. Magoo and Angus go home after returning the ruby back to the museum.



Mr. Magoo was shot in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, Argentina and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; the scenes in the museum were filmed in the lobby of the Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library. The animated sequences were produced by Yowza! Animation, a studio based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.[2]


Mr. Magoo grossed $28.9 million worldwide against a $30 million budget. Due to negative reaction from blind and near-sighted groups, Disney pulled the film from theaters after two weeks.[3][better source needed][1]

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 7%, based on reviews from 30 critics, with an average rating of 2.34/10. The site's consensus states: "Leslie Nielsen's affability can't save this dunderheaded update of Mr. Magoo, which delivers a stream of slapstick gags so lame that audiences will feel like they've stepped on a rake."[4] Some critics noted that the film included a disclaimer at the end stating that it was not meant to be an accurate portrayal of near-sighted or blind people.[5][6] On Siskel and Ebert, both critics gave the film a thumbs down. They both claimed that the disclaimer was funnier than anything in the movie, and thought it was unnecessary and that the film was not offensive towards near-sighted people.[7] Roger Ebert, giving it a half-star out of four in his newspaper review, also called the film "transcendently bad. It soars above ordinary badness as the eagle outreaches the fly."[6]

The film received two nominations at the 1997 Stinkers Bad Movie Awards: Worst Resurrection of a TV Show and Most Painfully Unfunny Comedy, losing both to McHale's Navy and 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag, respectively.[8]

Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.[9][better source needed]


  1. ^ a b "Mr. Magoo (1997)". The Numbers. Retrieved June 30, 2019.
  2. ^ "Yowza Animation". Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  3. ^ "Mr. Magoo (1997) - Trivia - IMDb". Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  4. ^ "Mr Magoo". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2020-04-04.
  5. ^ "'Mr. Magoo' Blunders Into Live-Action". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-03.
  6. ^ a b Ebert, Roger (December 25, 1997). "Mr. Magoo movie review & film summary (1997)". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2020-04-04.
  7. ^ Siskel & Ebert: Mr. Magoo (Year 1997) (video). Retrieved 2016-11-11 – via YouTube.
  8. ^ "The Stinkers 1997 Ballot". Stinkers Bad Movie Awards. Archived from the original on 18 August 2000.
  9. ^ "Home - Cinemascore". Cinemascore. Retrieved 28 December 2019.

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