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The Sleeping Girl Tells You Everything You Need to Know About ‘The Nut Job’

In my 34 years I have never met anybody who likes cartoons more than my

friend, Jackie.

Regardless of genre, studio, style or voice acting, if it’s animated, there’s about a 99 percent chance she’ll watch it. And beyond that there’s about a 75 percent chance she’ll find something positive to say about even the worst animated movie.

At roughly the 10-minute mark of “The Nut Job” I turned to Jackie to gage her reaction of what was happening on screen … she was asleep. And she pretty much stayed that way until the credits rolled and the house lights came on.

And that, in a nutshell (see what I did there?), is pretty much all you need to know about this movie.

If, however, you’re hungry for more, here you go:

Surly (voiced by Will Arnett) is a rule-bending squirrel who is always looking out for No. 1. Andie (Katherine Heigl) is an uptight, play by the rules squirrel, whose main objective is the well-being of the other animals that call the park home.

After a street cart filled with nuts meets its demise, along with the park’s winter food supply, Raccoon (Liam Neeson) banishes Surly to the mean streets.

There he encounters evil rats and congested sidewalks and discovers a store that’s filled to the rafters with nuts. He concocts a plan to rob the store and stuff himself for winter. Andie and some of the park’s other residents discover his plan and they want in

Will Surly learn the importance of sharing and teamwork or will remain a one-man squirrel pack?

On the surface the story sounds like it could be kind of fun: an “Ocean’s 11”-style heist film with cute, 3D animated park animals … what could go wrong?

Apparently, the correct answer is “a lot.”

First, the story is VERY slow to develop, leaving the film to rely almost completely on 3D, “physical” humor and thinly-veiled “adult humor” to appease children and the adults sitting with them. If there’s a crowd out there that can appreciate a good story, it’s children.

Second, once the story gets going, it doesn’t really do anything or go anywhere. The jokes are tired, the dialogue horrible (even in terms of a kids movie) and the characters boring

Which brings me to my third and final complaint: the voice acting. The kindest term I can think of to describe it is “lazy.” Most of the time it sounds it sounds as though the cast, which also includes Brendan Fraser, Jeff Dunham and Gabriel Iglesias, broke into Heigl’s stash of Nyquil (if you don’t get the reference, Google “Katherine Heigl Nyquil””). There’s no energy, no enthusiasm, no … nothing.

If there’s one positive to be taken from “The Nut Job” it’s that the animation and 3D are solid. They aren’t to the same standard as Disney, Disney-Pixar or even DreamWorks, but it looks pretty good.

“The Nut Job” has the feel of a direct-to-Redbox movie and that’s probably where you should watch it … if you do at all.

If your kids decide they just have to see squirrels, I suggest you take them to the park. They’ll thank you later.

★ of ★★★★★

© 2020 by Man Versus Movie

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