The movie is different from the books in several ways. The film was targeted at kids hence some of the darker stuff from the books were left out. Scenes were chopped off and rearranged and some new ones added. (This version crams book 1-3 into a 2 hour cut)
As usual the performance by Jim Carrey carried the weight of the film although in my opinion the character of Count Olaf could have been played a little bit darker as was in the books.
Read the books first like I did, and you might be dissapointed in the adaptation. Watch the movie first and you might find yourself enjoying the books a little more.
Still it was a mildly enjoyable film that after a series unfortunate events received the usual dreaded Hollywood treatment.