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Jensen Project, The (DVD Review)

4 Aug, 2010 By: Chris Tribbey

$15.99 DVD
Not rated.
Stars Kellie Martin, Brady Smith, Justin Kelly, LeVar Burton, Patricia Richardson, Alyssa Diaz.

The Jensen Project, Walmart and P&G’s second made-for-TV collaboration, is billed as family-friendly entertainment, and it certainly qualifies if said family is looking for the most non-offensive, vanilla-flavored “action” film out there.

The story follows the Thompson family, a whip-smart father, mother and son team in Somewhere, America, with a typical problem: The too-brilliant-for-his-own-good teen is rebellious, and the parents aren’t quite sure what to do with him. When The Jensen Project (“a group of really smart people making the world better”) comes calling for the parents’ help tracking down a rogue scientist who’s stolen dangerous, world-threatening research, the boy genius is introduced to a world of advanced technology and given free reign to wander around while his parents try to save the day.

Yeah, you know what’s coming: the boy (along with the sassy girl genius he meets) turns out to be more resourceful than the adults, and takes it on himself to save the day. Tried and true plot points ensue.

There’s nothing wrong with The Jensen Project. The CGI-heavy future tech visuals are cool. The acting is fine, the bad guys are sufficiently evil, and the script even provides a few laugh-out-loud moments.

But the story is formulaic and too predictable. A decent third-act plot twist is quickly followed by a betrayal we all saw coming a mile away.

Neither boring nor exciting, The Jensen Project is a lot like Chinese food: consumed, slightly enjoyed and then forgotten a half-hour later.

The movie aired on NBC July 16, and now Walmart is carrying the DVD exclusively in a set that includes a CD soundtrack featuring Jordin Sparks and Brooke White and executive produced by Randy Jackson of “American Idol.”

Walmart did work its collective butt off to make the extras comprehensive and enjoyable. Included are a fun set of featurettes that have the cast members talking about themselves and each other, mostly offering background about their acting careers, but also joking about their experiences working on the film.

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