Jennifer Lopez is a celebrity who transcends any one specific form of entertainment. Sometimes she's a pop singer, sometimes she's a movie star, sometimes she's on "American Idol," and sometimes she's trying to make Fiat's cool. The lady is versatile. But she's also a victim of her versatility: To our mind, she doesn't do any one thing well enough to really make us stop and take notice. If she had a film franchise, would that help? Oh, maybe -- which is probably why she's getting into the "Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?" business.
Late yesterday, Deadline reported that Walden Media (which focuses on kids' movies like "Chronicles of Narnia" and "Nim's Island" and "Tooth Fairy") is developing a live-action film of the popular computer game/children's game show/animated program. We have a vague memory of the '80s computer game, which involved tracking down Carmen and her team of thieves by figuring out clues that had to do with world geography. (Yeah, it was one of those games where being a dork really paid off.) For the movie, Lopez will produce but also may potentially star as well. And, sure, you may learn something while watching the film, but that'll be on your own time:
The hope is to turn the property into National Treasure meets The Thomas Crown Affair. The logline: When the ACME agency's greatest detective Carmen Sandiego becomes the world's greatest thief, it's up to her former partner to follow her clues and track her down. Their cat-and-mouse game leads the partner to confront a greater mystery: Is Carmen really a thief or a hero?
If Lopez does end up playing the lead, we have this really weird suspicion that, yes, Carmen is in fact a hero.
Lopez's box office track record of late has been a little inconsistent. "Monster-in-Law" made over $80 million, but "The Back-Up Plan" found few fans. Her biggest hit remains 2002's $94-million-grossing "Maid in Manhattan," which we wonder if Ralph Fiennes even remembers making. "Carmen Sandiego" could very easily beat that: The first episode of the 1994 animated show definitely gives off that "National Treasure"/"Thomas Crown" vibe. Personally, we wished they model the film more after the early-'90s game show. It was kinda like "Jeopardy" with detective costumes and a ton more a cappella. You know, the stuff kids like.