If you follow John Cena in his day job, or if you look at a lot of memes, you've probably seen his whole “you can't see me” thing. After having watched Cena's latest film, the animated feature “Ferdinand,” I can't help but feel I'd have been better off not seeing it.
Ferdinand (voice of John Cena) and Lupe (voice of Kate McKinnon) in “Ferdinand.” (TM and © 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Not for sale or duplication.)
Based on the children's book of the same name, “Ferdinand” follows a bull (voiced by Cena) who wants something more from life than to end up being picked to go head-to-head against a bullfighter.
After a traumatic incident turns Ferdinand into a runaway, he ends up on a flower farm with a loving family that keeps him out of the bull ring. The tables turn again, however, and Ferdinand finds himself forced to fight for everyone and everything that's important to him.
Don't get me wrong, when I say I feel I'd have been better having not seen the movie, it has nothing to do with Cena. In fact, Cena's performance is actually the best part of the entire movie. His voice is the perfect combination of brawn and emotion to bring the character to life.
The cast is rounded out by some pretty big household names, including Kate McKinnon as a goat named Lupe, and Anthony Anderson, David Tennant, Bobby Cannavale, and Peyton Manning as bulls Bones, Angus, Valiente, and Guapo. And while each serves their purpose, none of them really stand out.
Ferdinand (voice of John Cena) finds himself as the proverbial bull in a china shop in “Ferdinand.” (TM and © 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Not for sale or duplication.)
The major problem with “Ferdinand” is that while the story itself is a classic, there's simply not enough source material to fill a feature film time slot.
Munro Leaf's book is roughly 30 pages and this movie is 106 minutes long. That means there's far too much excess time that needs to be filled. And in this case it's filled with too many bad song and dance numbers, jokes that often fall flat, and the inclusion of pointless characters – in this case gangs of “funny” hedgehogs and prancing horses – to do nothing more than fill time.
Honestly, I think “Ferdinand” would have been better served had it been delivered as a long animated short film rather than as a feature.
There's certainly an audience for “Ferdinand,” but that audience is probably limited to small children and parents whose comedic sensibilities have been dulled by too much time in front of Nick Jr. programming.
For everyone else, particularly animation fans, it's probably best to take Cena's “you can't see me” shtick to heart and look for better options.
★1/2 of ★★★★★