From the back-and-forth structure of Shorts, said Jake Coyle in the Associated Press, you'd think that director Robert Rodriguez had "made the kids equivalent of Pulp Fiction, the fractured narrative classic by his buddy and frequent collaborator, Quentin Tarantino." But the "fancy" editing of Rodgriquez's new movie can't obscure the fact that this is a formulaic family film -- kids find a rock that grants wishes, and "trouble ensues." (">watch the Shorts trailer)

This movie wasn't made for fans of Rodriguez's violent grown-up movies, like El Mariachi, Desperado, and Once Upon a Time in Mexico, said Bob Thompson in Canwest News Service. Shorts is for the "little rascals" who filled theaters to see the Spy Kids trilogy. And the telling of the story in "time-shifting vignettes" adds nicely to the "playfulness of the Rodriquez fantasy."

Shorts definitely "finds filmmaker Robert Rodriguez in his Spy Kids mode," said Kirk Honeycutt in Reuters, "where the heroes are all kids and special effects go hog wild." But Spy Kids appealed to young and old alike -- Shorts is even more clearly aimed at the younger members of the family. "When a town is terrorized by a Booger Monster, this is a movie for adolescents and maybe tweens."

Also opening this weekend:

Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds