• Publication date: June 25, 2009

A Labor Of Love An Inventor Risks His Career & Life For Science

Frank Coraci, director of comedy blockbusters �The Wedding Singer� and �The Waterboy� (1998) delivers an adaptation of 19th century novelist Jules Verne's book, �Around the World in 80 Days.� �24 Hour Party People� (2002) star Steve Coogan portrays Phileas Fogg, a fledgling member of the Royal Academy of Science whose track record is littered with failures.

Frank Coraci, director of comedy blockbusters �The Wedding Singer� and �The Waterboy� (1998) delivers an adaptation of 19th century novelist Jules Verne's book, �Around the World in 80 Days.� �24 Hour Party People� (2002) star Steve Coogan portrays Phileas Fogg, a fledgling member of the Royal Academy of Science whose track record is littered with failures. Fogg�s colleague and rival, Lord Kelvin (Jim Broadbent) is convinced that science has reached its peak, and that no new noteworthy inventions are to come. However Fogg disagrees; specifically, he is skeptical of an agreed upon theory stating that the maximum speed of travel cannot exceed 50 miles per hour. Phileas believes that a mode of transportation can be devised that permits high speed travel, leading the inventor to suggest that he can circle the globe in a mere 80 days.

Naturally, Lord Kelvin and the other academy members scoff at Fogg and are certain that such a feat is impossible, especially with Phileas as its architect. In fact, Kelvin is so sure of the inventor�s inevitable failure that he proposes a daring bet: if Fogg�s mission fails he must destroy his laboratory and withdraw himself from science for good. However, if Phileas succeeds, Kelvin will forfeit his position as the academy�s Minister of Science and allow his rival to replace him. Somewhat reluctantly, Fogg agrees to the bet and prepares for his extraordinary voyage.

Yet Fogg�s zeal to embark on such a daring mission arouses his peers� suspicion. Prior to their meeting the Bank of England was robbed of its Jade Buddha, a priceless heirloom that was wrongfully seized during the British occupation of a small Chinese village. Authorities are on a hunt for the thief and the academy�s members suspect that Phileas is using his voyage as an excuse to flee the country. While Fogg is completely unaware of the thief�s true identity his colleagues� allegations do contain some truth. The scientist recently acquired a Chinese valet named Lau Xing (depicted by martial arts super stuntman Jackie Chan), who has secretly arrived in Britain to reclaim his village�s sacred Buddha. In need of an escape from the country, Lau Xing encourages Fogg to pursue his dreams.

The duo�s first destination is Paris where they encounter foot soldiers sent by General Fang (Karen Joy Morris), a vindictive female military officer who seized the Buddha as a gift for Lord Kelvin. In order to escape Fogg designs a hot air balloon and flees to Turkey alongside his newly acquired French female companion, Monique (C�cile de France). In Turkey they are welcomed by Hapi (Arnold Schwarzenegger) a seemingly generous prince whose kindness masks his ulterior motive: to wed Monique and keep her in Turkey. While the three manage to escape from Hapi (by disguising themselves as women), things get sticky when Fang�s soldiers ambush them before making their journey to China.

Meanwhile in England Lau Xing is identified as the Buddha�s thief, infuriating Kelvin who soon realizes that Phileas is unknowingly aiding Xing�s escape. Lord Kelvin is aware of Fogg�s innocence, yet uses the desired capture of Xing as an excuse to stifle Phileas� journey � which at this point seems more feasible than first imagined. Will the trio survive long enough to return the Buddha, win the bet, and discover a new form of high-speed travel? Their fate is uncertain as they are struck with even more moments of misfortune in their quest.

�Around the World in 80 Days� features a long list of guest stars including Kathy Bates and John Cleese, in addition to Own and Luke Wilson. The picture is rated PG for action violence, some crude humor and mild language. Its runtime is 120 minutes.