SOMEWHERE THERE'S a 14-year-old who just learned how to inhale who's going to enjoy the bejeezus out of Goosebumps. It's middle-grade mindblowing: The author is a character in his own story. There are also a lot of seven-to-11-year-olds who are going to enjoy the bejeezus out of Goosebumps, thanks to not-too-scary action sequences and silly monster sight gags. And, plausibly, there are some 21-year-olds for whom the Goosebumps franchise represents a connection to a childhood they're not quite sure they're ready to leave behind, and sure, they'll enjoy it too.
Enjoying the hypothetical enjoyment of imaginary seven, 14, and 21-year-olds isn't quite the same as enjoying a movie, but it's probably where most adults will land on this one. Goosebumps is a greatest hits-collection of all the most memorable Big Bads from R.L. Stine's beloved Goosebumps series. Slappy the ventriloquist's dummy, the Invisible Boy, the Blob That Ate Everyone, those pissed-off garden gnomes—they're all here, and so is the author himself, a reclusive curmudgeon (played by Jack Black) who lives next door to Our Hero, Zach (Dylan Minette, who's presumably famous on the Disney Channel or something).
Stine is a mean old man who keeps his monsters locked away in books—but when Zach accidentally unlocks a dusty copy of The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena, freeing the monster from its book-prison, chaos ensues. Low-stakes, goofy, easily resolved chaos.
Stine has always been an author with a wry sense of humor, and Goosebumps' most adult-friendly gag sees the author bitterly comparing his success to Stephen King's. (It's an off-base comparison, though: Stine is the Dean Koontz of kids' horror novelists; Christopher Pike is the Stephen King. I have been waiting 20 years to write that sentence.) For the most part, though, this one's for the kiddos—it's pleasantly silly and self-aware, and you're definitely too old for it.