So, I take my three girls to see Over the Hedge, a movie based on the comic series by Michael Fry and T Lewis, which by the way is vastly funnier, and I expected it to be a lot better. The basis for the film lies in the real-estate development shooting up during one season of hibernation. The cast of creatures wake up to find a never-ending, imposing hedge in the place where a vast forest used to be. The street-smart raccoon, with motives of his own, comes along to “guide” them towards the riches of suburbia, in order to fix his problem. Cliches ensue.
It’s not that the movie is without humor, it has humor, but for an adult who sees many flicks for kids, I was bored mostly until the end. Maybe I’m spoiled. As far as I’m concerned, after seeing Shrek, Toy Story (1 & 2), The Incredibles and, especially, Finding Nemo, the bar has been raised, and frankly, Over the Hedge, did not come close. You see, animated films have a responsibility to the parents. We’re the ones shelling out a lot of money to go to the movie theaters; we’re the ones who buy the DVDs, not our children. So after spending my hard-earned money on four tickets, popcorn and various other sugar-high inducing snacks, I was disappointed.
However, the movie did have its moments. William Shatner expertly played the dramatic possum father Ozzie. I give him kudos for poking fun at his acting skills and playing this role to perfection. Steve Carell as Hammy, a hyper, not so intelligent, squirrel, was another highlight of the film with truly hysterical moments. Wanda Sykes as Stella the skunk, Eugene Levy and Catherine O?Hara as the porcupine parents, and Nick Nolte as Vincent the greedy bear, were all entertaining.
Garry Shandling as Verne, the responsible turtle, was ok. I’m not a big fan of Shandling‘s, so I’m biased here. Bruce Willis as RJ, the raccoon that takes advantage of this family of naive forest creatures, was miscast. Don?t get me wrong, in his feature films, Willis is excellent; I?m a big fan, but part of his talent is in the emotions that you can see cross his face. His voice is just not strong enough, or recognizable enough for animated films. Gladys, the stereotypical suburban head of the homeowner’s association, played by Allison Janney, was annoying, which is what she was supposed to be.
Overall, the kids loved it and kept talking about Hammy the entire ride home. I wanted more adult moments, but maybe that?s asking too much for a kid-flick. The movie is rated PG and includes some dialogue and scenes that are too old for the very young, as my three-year old was scared during the bear scenes. So, long story short, if you want to see a movie that will entertain the kiddos, Over the Hedge is for you. Don’t expect it to be one of the best animated films of the year or one that will have you laughing all the way through. Sadly it does not fit that bill for adults.
MovieSnobs Mom approved for waiting for the DVD. It will cost less than going to the theater.
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