BJ and Wally is a 2006 American computer-animated buddy comedy film produced by Universal Feature Animation and Gingo Animation and based on Geo G's daily comic strip of the same name. The ninth animated feature in the Universal Animated Features canon, it was directed by Geo G. and produced by Michael Wildshill, and stars the voices of Zach Braff, Greg Cipes, Matthew Broderick, Joan Cusack, Tim Curry, Wayne Knight, Isla Fisher, Richard Kind, Reese Witherspoon, Dana Carvey, and William Shatner. The film is an origin story of how BJ and Wally met before the events of the very first comic strip in 1996.
The film was released by Universal Pictures on July 7, 2006, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the comic strip. It received mixed reviews from critics but was a box office success, grossing $486 million worldwide against a $74 million budget. A television series based on the film titled The BJ and Wally Show premiered on Gingo on October 6, 2007, and ended on March 31, 2012.
BJ Wilson is an average 11-year-old boy who lives a very boring but very average life with his mother Janet and his older brother Alan, in a small town called Tootleville. While unconditionally supported by Janet and embarrassed by Alan, BJ dreams about there being more to life than his bleak existence. Later, BJ and his family learn that Hugo Pinnez, the CEO of B.E.T. Corps, has announced plans to redevelop Tootleville as a large metropolis. This becomes the last straw for the Wilson house, prompting BJ to leave and find a better life.
BJ meets a scientist and inventor named Cal, who explains to him that some children were taken to B.E.T. Corps for research and development. Willing to rescue someone, BJ observes B.E.T. Corps in the distance. Along the way, BJ meets an orphan named Wally for the first time and adopts him as his brother. Wally tells BJ about how he lost his family in a plane crash, and how he was taken away to B.E.T. Corps, but managed to escape. BJ then follows Wally to B.E.T. Corps. There, the two are attacked by Pinnez and his robot guards. After helping the kids flee B.E.T. corps, BJ takes Wally to his house. There, BJ introduces Wally to his mother Janet and his older brother Alan.
The next morning, BJ and Wally discover that Pinnez has sped up his plans since he has learned about BJ rescuing the orphans. Now Pinnez just needs the approval of the city council. They decide to sneak into Pinnez's house to expose him and discover the reason why he is kidnapping all these orphans. The two find a scrapbook on Pinnez's bookshelf and discover that he was an orphan who suffered from mental insanity. They go to scan and print out the details, but they unintentionally send out an intruder signal to B.E.T. Corps, where Pinnez sends opposing forces to stop them. BJ and Wally stop them, with the help of some of Cal's technology.
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- Zach Braff as BJ Wilson, a sarcastic, wise-cracking, self-absorbed, intelligent, arrogant, and somewhat bossy 11-year-old boy. He wears large, circle-shaped glasses and has a lack of nose (along with his family) but was able to smell.
- Greg Cipes as Wally Wilson, BJ's adoptive brother and best friend. He is a clumsy, empathetic, but smart, skinny boy who lost his family in a plane crash and is willing to trust and befriend anyone.
- Matthew Broderick as Alan Wilson, BJ's 20-year-old brother.
- Joan Cusack as Janet Wilson, the caring mother of BJ, Wally, and Alan.
- Tim Curry as Hugo Pinnez, a greedy, selfish man and the CEO of B.E.T. Corps who plans on converting Tootleville into a metropolis city.
- Wayne Knight as Tony, Pinnez's henchman.
- Isla Fisher as Nina, BJ's girlfriend.
- Richard Kind and Reese Witherspoon as Jimmy and Jane, a wacky, dim-witted couple who often mess around in their house.
- Dana Carvey as Cal, a scientist and inventor.
- William Shatner as Dr. Pockgins, a doctor.
- Brad Garrett as Mr. Mint
- Stephen Tobolowsky as Robot Guard
- Geo G. as Larry, a lazy guy who doesn't care much about anything.
- Corey Burton as Auctioneer
- Jack Angel
- Bob Bergen
- Rodger Bumpass
- John Cygan
- Jennifer Darling
- Debi Derryberry
- Paul Eiding
- Bill Farmer
- Jessie Flower
- Zachary Gordon
- Jess Harnell
- Sherry Lynn
- Danny Mann
- Mona Marshall
- Mickie McGowan
- Laraine Newman
- Jan Rabson
- Jim Ward
- Ariel Winter
Geo G. first wrote a treatment for a BJ and Wally film in 2000. Universal Feature Animation began developing a film adaptation of BJ and Wally in 2001. In May 2002, Variety reported that Peter Baynham was hired by Universal to write the screenplay for the film. By May 2004, production had officially begun.
The film's cast was announced by Universal in 2003, originally composed of the returning cast of the animated BJ and Wally shorts which aired on the syndicated Gingo Lineup block, with Billy West and Jason Marsden reprising their respective roles as BJ Wilson and Wally Wilson. In addition, Phil LaMarr, Grey DeLisle, Hynden Walch, and Kevin Michael Richardson were cast in multiple roles. LaMarr was cast as Alan Wilson and Cal, DeLisle was cast as Janet Wilson and Jane, Walch was cast as Nina, and Richardson was cast as Tony and Jimmy. Tim Curry was brought in to play Hugo Pinnez and director Geo G. was cast as Larry.
In March 2005, Universal announced that the majority of the cast had been revised with better-known actors, in hopes of attracting a larger audience. Of the original cast, only Curry retained his role. Zach Braff replaced Billy West as BJ, Greg Cipes replaced Jason Marsden as Wally, and Matthew Broderick replaced Phil LaMarr as Alan. Universal also wanted to replace Geo G. in the role of Larry with a more famous actor such as John Goodman, but the role was ultimately not recast.
- Main article: BJ and Wally (film)/Soundtrack
Wendy's promoted the film with a set of 5 kids' meal toys featuring the characters from the film.
- The official teaser was released on July 1, 2005, and was shown before M.I.S.S.I.O.N., Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Bad News Bears.
- The first theatrical trailer was released on November 4, 2005, and was shown before Chicken Little, Zathura: A Space Adventure, Metro Cone, Yours, Mine, & Ours, and Marcus Troy and the Kingdom of the Crown.
- The second theatrical trailer was released on March 10, 2006, and was shown before The Shaggy Dog, Ice Age: The Meltdown, X-Men: The Last Stand, The Wild, Cars, and Nacho Libre.
- TV spots began to air between June and early July 2006.
The film was originally scheduled for release on December 16, 2005, but on December 10, 2004, its release date was pushed back to July 7, 2006, due to Universal's satisfaction with the successful July 2004 release of Computeropolis and desire to exploit fully the merchandising potential of a summer film. The release date change was also three days after Disney/Pixar changed the release date of Cars, from November 2005 to June 2006, and the day after DreamWorks Animation changed the release date of Shrek the Third, from November 2006 to May 2007.
BJ and Wally was released on DVD, HD DVD, and UMD Video on December 5, 2006. The Blu-ray version was released on July 22, 2008.
BJ and Wally grossed $150 million in the United States and Canada and $336.9 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $486.9 million, against a $74 million budget.
BJ and Wally received mixed reviews from critics and fans. On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 53% based on 123 reviews, with an average rating of 5.3/10, making it the first film in the Universal Animated Features canon to earn a "rotten" certification. The site's critical consensus reads, "There are moments of charm and hilarity in this computer-animated rendition of the comic strip. On other levels, however, BJ and Wally is mostly forgettable." On Metacritic, it received a score of 51 out of 100, based on 75 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
- Main article: BJ and Wally (video game)
- Main article: The BJ and Wally Show [2007-2012]
To see the main transcript of the film, click here.
To see the transcript for the trailers of the film, click here.
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