Give LEAPIN' LEPRECHAUNS! credit for outstripping its title. This bit of kiddie fantasy qualifies as undemanding and often quite pleasant.
On the Emerald Isle, the estate of Castle Dunsmore has long been tended by nice old Michael Dennehy (John Bluthal), who regales modern tourists with tales of leprechauns, banshees, and elves lurking around Fairy Hill. It sounds like blarney but happens to be true: Michael regularly meets the
leprechaun King Kevin (Godfrey James) and his mischievious subjects. When Michael is invited to Denver to visit his adult son John (Grant Cramer), King Kevin and two retainers secretly go along for the ride (accompanied by a Fairy Queen). Since "those who don't believe can never see them,"
Michael must constantly make excuses when caught arguing with the invisible, supernatural stowaways.
The Irish visitors experience culture shock when faced with the American Dennehys yuppie values: instead of proper fun with the children, mom Sarah (Sharon Lee Jones) works at their right-brain/left-brain development with educational flash cards, while mercenary John plans to develop Fairy Hill
as a gaudy theme park "Ireland Land." Michael declares the latter would break the Dennehy family's covenant with the leprechauns to keep the place unspoiled. But while his wife and kids become convinced that the wee folk exist, John remains skeptical.
The lack of an all-out villain makes LEAPIN' LEPRECHAUNS! a nice change from the usual routine of live-action family films, though cut-rate special effects limit the title figures in their interaction with other characters. The miniaturized quartet of UK comic performers mostly stand on the
sidelines and mug madly as their spells cue collapsing chairs, food spills and playground rides accelerating. Only when a near-fatal car crash unleashes spooky omens of evil spirits does John Dennehy believe in King Kevin's realm, and there the budget finally accommodates some rich
visuals--incidentally reflecting the filmmakers' background in horror and sci-fi. The same American production team, in fact, wrought DRAGONWORLD, an even better takeoff on Celtic myth that, like LEAPIN' LEPRECHAUNS!, was shot on the cheap in Romania, for the direct-to-video market.
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- Released: 1995
- Rating: PG
- Review: Give LEAPIN' LEPRECHAUNS! credit for outstripping its title. This bit of kiddie fantasy qualifies as undemanding and often quite pleasant. On the Emerald Isle, the estate of Castle Dunsmore has long been tended by nice old Michael Dennehy (John Bluthal),… (more)