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Scott D. Pierce: 'Jensen Project' is a nice idea, but …

Published: Thursday, July 15 2010 3:00 p.m. MDT

Justin Kelly, left, Kellie Martin and Brady Smith play members of a super-smart family in the NBC family movie "The Jensen Project."

Philippe Bosse, NBC

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The Jensen Project" is the sort of project we don't see much on network television anymore.

A made-for-TV movie that's designed for the entire family to watch together.

And NBC deserves a pat on the back and a big round of applause for putting "Jensen" on the air.

Not that the network is exactly altruistic. Like "Secrets of the Mountain," which aired back in April, this this movie is sponsored by Walmart, which is selling DVDs of both TV movies already.

But, hey, who isn't in favor of good old-fashioned entertainment? Of television programming that children and their parents can enjoy together?

That, however, is where the problem lies. While it's great that "The Jensen Project" is inoffensive, it would be better if it was actually good.

And it's not.

"The Jensen Project" involves a big plot that could destroy the world.

Clair (Kellie Martin) and Matt Thompson (Brady Smith) are former members of the Jensen Project, a super-secret organization filled with super-smart scientists making all sorts of super advances for all mankind.

But one super-smart scientist has gone bad, stolen super-secret technology and is working for super-bad guys.

So Clair, Matt and their super-smart teenage son, Brody (Justin Kelly), return to The Jensen Project to try to save the world.

There's lots of neat-o gadgetry and special effects. And stuff that will appeal to kids — like when Matt (a physician) hauls a gummy worm out of a kid's nose. Or when Brody discovers a big ol' hologram of a dinosaur.

Or when the teenagers prove to be smarter than their parents.

Sigh.

But there's not much to hold the interest of anyone older than 12. And it drags in spots so younger kids may struggle, too.

Parents know there are shows their kids love that they love, too. Like anything from Pixar, from example.

And then there are shows that parents sit down and watch with their kids because it's just one of the sacrifices they make.

"The Jensen Project" falls much more into the latter category.

Too bad.

Because family movies on network television is such a great idea.

If you watch

What: "The Jensen Project"

When: Friday, 7-9 p.m.

Channel: NBC/Ch. 5

The bottom line: Kids might like this family movie, but their parents will probably be bored.

e-mail: pierce@desnews.com

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