Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Nut Job Review

The Nut Job Review
"The Nut Job" revolves around Surly (Will Arnett) and the haul of food to get before winter. Surly is a purple squirrel who has a cocky attitude. He helps the other park animals gather food for the winter, but after a gathering that goes horrifically bad, Surly is banished from the park by Raccoon (Liam Neeson). To prove he can be an asset to his community, he plans to break into a nut company and retrieve more food than his community could bargain for.

The voice work by Arnett is very well done. In fact, the cast is great all around. If a comedy was made starring Arnett, Neeson, Katherine Heigel, Jeff Dunham, Maya Rudolph, Brendan Fraser, and Stephen Lang, I'd be weeping right now. I think out of all the voice talent though, Arnett really steals the show. Its no surprise he's the lead in "The Nut Job," he's got a bold, commanding voice. The same voice was used to great effect in "The LEGO Movie" over the weekend. Arnett is a powerful presence for live-action and animation and I think filmmakers utilize his talent well. There are some big laughs and big adventure in "The Nut Job" and there is certainly stuff to like.

That good stuff is thin and scarce. I don't think "The Nut Job" is a horrible movie. But I don't think its going to be a particularly memorable animated movie. Even as I watched the trailers for "The Nut Job" months ago, something seemed very odd about the animation itself. It looks very much like it was generated from a computer and at many moments in the film, the animation alone took me out of the movie. However, I can forgive bad animation, I can certainly live with it.

"The Nut Job" is yet another example of an animated movie that will appeal more to children than adults. There is a lot of action and while I think its all well-staged, all I could think about is how it only appeals to children. The humor of the film also seemed aimed at children, as the movie goes for the easy laugh every time. I will admit though, Maya's dog character had some clever laughs but that's it. There is nothing unique or inspiring about the humor. One thing about the movie though is there is a useless, un-needed story about mobsters running the nut company the squirrels tried to break into. This tedium subplot took me out of the movie several times also, and I can only imagine it would take children out of the movie too. Had "The Nut Job" focused solely on the animals, I feel it would have been stronger overall.

"The Nut Job" has a lot going on, yet at the same time, not very much happens at all. An interesting paradox indeed. I'd say rent this one if you have a family, not sure its worth the money at the theater.

FINAL GRADE: C-

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