The Dad Who Created Jimmy Neutron

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Even without a daily commute, Oedekerk puts in a long work week. He creates "thumbmation" shorts, in which animated thumbs parody movies like Titanic and Star Wars, and he directed and stars in the upcoming martial-arts comedy Kung Pow: Enter the Fist. He also produced the animated IMAX film Santa vs. the Snowman, due in theaters November 2002, after being disappointed by 1997's large-format Nutcracker. "I was so excited to take the kids, because I love IMAX theaters, and man, it just blew," he remembers. "Every kids' movie that comes out, we take Zoe and Isabella to. That's why I go out of my way to make stuff that's fun for parents to watch. That's a big deal for me."

His home studio lets Oedekerk immerse himself in his work while living an hour and a half -- and an entire mindset -- away from Hollywood. "No one understands the entertainment industry here," he says, recalling how, when he was directing the second Ace Ventura, a neighbor asked, awestruck, if he ever got to actually see Jim Carrey.

The Oedekerk girls are just as innocent about their father's work -- Zoe still hasn't seen the PG-13-rated Nutty Professor or Ace films. "She knows I do movies, but it's still sort of a kid knowledge," Oedekerk says. "Like she'll see some random film and say, 'Did you do that one, Daddy?'" Isabella, for her part, loves Jimmy Neutron -- she jumps out of her seat when she sees ads for the character's spin-off series on Nickelodeon -- although she has no idea the boy genius is her dad's brainchild.

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