A downer's a downer, no matter how hyped, especially a film of 'The Lorax's' type

Boo-ray for Hollywood -- they've got no excuse.

For distorting yet another classic tale by Dr. Seuss.

"The Lorax" is the victim this time around,

And while it's hardly the worst Dr. Seuss movie to be found

-- "The Cat in the Hat" claims that title for the ages --

"The Lorax" falls short of the original's pages.

Then again, maybe short's not the right word to use

Considering how bloated this new "Lorax" proves.

Dr. Seuss' story was a quiet, simple one,

More poignant and thoughtful than giddy-up fun.

It told of a paradise ruined by greed,

The Grinch-worthy Once-ler and his product, the Thneed .

To make his Thneeds, the Once-ler decreed,

He needed the fluffy tufts of the Truffula trees.

So many trees that he chopped them all down,

Displacing the Swommee Swans and the Bar-ba-loots brown.

The Lorax, a mustachioed sprite who spoke for the trees,

Implored the Once-ler to stop churning out Thneeds.

But his words went unheeded till the sad, sorry day

The Lorax joined his forest friends and went far away,

Leaving the once-heedless Once-ler to ponder his deeds,

And the damage he'd done in his quest for more Thneeds.

The new movie, understandably, expands this slight tale,

But does so by adding too many elements that seem stale.

We open in Thneedville , a town made of plastic --

With residents who conveniently think plastic's fantastic.

They love their inflatable trees and their fresh bottled air,

And never worry about what used to be there.

All except young Audrey (voiced by Taylor Swift),

Who longs to see a real live tree and give her spirits a lift.

That inspires plucky Ted (Zac Efron gives him voice)

To set out and find what's behind Audrey's choice.

His search leads him to the desolate place

Where the Once-ler and the Lorax once met, face to face.

Ed Helms and Danny DeVito give voice to these two,

But "The Lorax" doesn't give them nearly enough stuff to do.

The movie's too busy adding characters to the mix,

From air mogul O'Hare to the Once-ler's family of hicks.

The scheming O'Hare, who's voiced by Rob Riggle,

Is occasionally good for an up-to-no-good giggle.

But he seems awfully familiar -- no coincidence there,

Because "The Lorax" is clogged with parts best described as spare.

"Despicable Me" comes to mind, for a start --

"The Lorax" has the same directors and writers, if not half as much heart.

It's too busy tossing in action designed for 3-D --

Perhaps to distract us from thoughts of "Wall-E,"

Which explored the same themes with more wit and grace.

"The Lorax" would rather play its in-your-face ace,

With frenetic slapstick to lighten the mood

And chances for DeVito's Lorax to act amusingly rude.

But he's never as funny as he's meant to be,

And he keeps disappearing, like one more Truffula tree.

So instead of a wistful, thought-provoking fable,

This "Lorax" wears a light-hearted, once-over-lightly label.

That's not necessarily bad, just disappointing to note

If you treasure "The Lorax" that Dr. Seuss wrote.

Contact movie critic Carol Cling at ccling@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0272.