Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Review 276: "The Nut Job"

No nuts, no glory

Surly Squirrel

      The Nut Job is a 2014 animated film released in early January. The film is already set to have a sequel that will be released in January 2016. The film was directed by Peter Lepeniotis and was written by Lepeniotis, along with Lorne Cameron (Over the Hedge) and Robert Reece (The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning). The film follows Surly (Will Arnett), a squirrel banned from his park home by park leader Raccoon (Liam Neeson) after his self-serving antics ruins the animals' food supply. Forced to leave the park with his only friend Buddy, Surly discovers a nut store that could be the answer to all his problems. With the aid of several park residents, including Andie (Katherine Heigl), Grayson (Brendan Fraser), Mole (Jeff Dunham) and Jimmy (Gabriel Iglesias) and a dog (Maya Rudolph), Surly attempts to steal the nuts... not realizing that the store is a front for a group of bank robbers, lead by Stephen Lang.

I'll get to this...
How Low Can Ya Go?

      It's almost a feat in it's own right with how much The Nut Job had going against it before I saw it. After all, it is an animated kids film from an unknown studio and director being released in January starring Gabriel Iglesias AND Jeff Dunham AND featuring several uses of Gangman Style. I mean, that's got to be some kind of record for least anyone's ever wanted to see a movie ever. And yet, we're getting a sequel. Maybe it's that day. It did come out on the same day as Ride Along, which is also getting a sequel. Which is set to come out on the same day as The 2-Nut Job or whatever the hell they call it. Because, it's not because the film was any good. Well, granted, The Nut Job isn't terrible. Just bad. It 100% is the type of animated kids film that gets released direct-to-DVD every few weeks or so, except this one made it to theaters somehow. It's the kind of movie where the best thing in it's favor is that it's just boring and cliched and not offensively bad. Yes, it's obnoxious to hear Gangnam Style randomly play during the movie and yes there are plenty of crappy jokes aimed at kids...

Surface Level

      But the film isn't entirely without things to offer. The best quality of the film is the fact that the animation is pretty genuinely good. There is one point in the film where the characters are standing in front of a burning tree and the film for a second looks gorgeous. The film also makes good uses of shadows and light effects, creating some fairly stunning scenes at nighttime. And while the characters do range from either annoying to bland, the actors are all doing fine. No one's really phoning it in and while they don't have much to work with they do manage to bring some likability to the characters. The story is comfortable, even if it's extremely cliched. The story of a jerk who really does care but for some reason won't show it isn't anything new, but it's breezy enough that the film never becomes a slog to sit through. Hell, when things starts to get unbelievably nuts (Ahhh, ahhhh?) in the climax, the film actually starts to get a little fun. But, unfortunately, only a little, and it's way too late.

No, it's not THAT bad.
The Verdict

      The Nut Job might not have a single original nut in it's body (Too much?), but ultimately it's a harmless movie. Sure, the overuse of some dated jokes (*coughGungnamStylecough*) and some poor choices in actors (*coughIglesiasandDunhamcough*) are pretty damn annoying, but overall, the film might be cliched and dull, but some good acting, a decent story and some solid animation keep it from being a total trainwreck. A train full of nuts that is! Ah, I'm just the bees-knees... The Nut Job gets 2 and a half stars out of 6.

No comments:

Post a Comment