Crafted from a mix of genre clichés, Kazaam doesn't know what kind of film it wants to be, and Shaq's larger-than-life charisma is stifled by rote filmmaking and an unimaginative story.
In his Hollywood debut, Shaq more or less played himself as a coveted college center in William Friedkin's excellent Blue Chips. Kazaam is a compelling argument for keeping him on the court and as far away from a movie set as possible.
I'd call the film innocuous, except that Max's gangster dad is apparently an Italian-American and the movie's main villain is an Arab. Do kids really need these stereotypes reinforced? There's also more violence here than you might expect.
As fairy tale, buddy comedy, family drama, thriller or rap revue, Kazaam is simply uninspired and unconvincing, and Mr. O'Neal, who can carry a basketball team, lacks the charisma to rescue this misguided effort.