Film Review: B-Level Story Sinks Finely Animated ‘The Nut Job’

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Average: 5 (1 vote)

CHICAGO – It feels like when any studio besides Walt Disney or Pixar does an animated film with celebrity voices, there is a little less lacquer on it. What the other two remember, and others forget, is that it starts with a script. All the toon landscapes in the world can’t fix a dull story. Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

“The Nut Job” is a case in point. It looks lovely, with well-defined characters and scenic composition – set in the “Guys and Dolls” era of caper heists. But the story lacks substance or verve, and there were stretches of dead audience silence in the preview screening. Not a good sign, because the room was populated by the target audience of kiddies. Also, the film steals gags from the Warner Brothers era of cartoons, in more of a rip-off than a tribute. All these poisonous bits add up to a long 86 minutes. That’s right, a loooooooong 86 minutes. Parents, beware.

The central park in the midsize city of Oakton has a number of animal inhabitants, including squirrels Grayson (voice of Brendan Fraser), Surly (Will Arnett) and Andie (Katherine Heigl), in addition to Raccoon (Liam Neeson) and Mole (Jeff Dunham). They are gathering food for the winter, but Surly won’t cooperate and is banished from the park kingdom to the big bad city.

This leads to a discovery by the Surly Squirrel. The nut factory has all the food he could possibly use for years, if only he can get inside. This information filters to the rest of the park, and Andie begs him to split the loot. All this is complicated by a gang of heist men, who are using the nut factory as a way to get into the bank next door. The only thing standing between them and an encounter with the furry creatures is a dog named Precious (Maya Rudolph).

“The Nut Job” opens everywhere on January 17th. See local listings for 3D showings. Featuring the voices of Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser, Liam Neeson, Katherine Heigl, Maya Rudolph, Jeff Dunham and Sarah Gadon. Screenplay by Lorne Cameron. Directed by Peter Lepeniotis. Rated “PG

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of ”The Nut Job”

Katherine Heigl, Will Arnett
Andie (voice of Katherine Heigl) and Surly (Will Arnett) Get Busy in ‘The Nut Job’
Photo credit: Open Road Films

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of ”The Nut Job”

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