Friday, May 26, 2006

Voices of Bruce Willis, Gary Shandling, Steve Carrell and Avril Lavigne
Directors: Tim Johnson and Karey Kirkpatrick
Time: 85 mins
Rating: * * *
RJ (left) and the animals raiding a truck
WHAT’S IT ABOUT? A bunch of woodland animals wake up from hibernation to find a huge long hedge blocking their way to the forest. RJ, a crafty raccoon (voice of Willis), tells their leader, Verne the turtle (Shandling), that the domain Over The Hedge is where food is aplenty. “This is where the human critters gather, store, eat and waste food.” Except for Verne, RJ gets the others excited over the find. Unknown to them, the rascal raccoon has an ulterior motive in wanting them to help him amass the food.

WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL? This Dreamworks adaptation of a popular comic strip starts off as a funny and biting revelation on suburbia and how humans are obsessed with food (in contrast to the other animals who need it for survival). There is fun to be had in seeing how the little critters, especially a family of possum, a squirrel and a porcupine, fool the human residents and raid their fridges. Then, of course, the plot turns into a war between the two sides when an Exterminator is called in…

HIGHLIGHTS: The animal characters are cute, well-developed and funny. There are cool one-liners to tickle the funnybones of the adults – and enough comic action to keep the kids occupied. Children will particularly love the deceitful RJ and Stella the Skunk (Wanda Sykes) who does a number on a house Cat. Technically, the movie is as good as the recent CGI offerings, with realistic details and colour.

LOWLIGHTS: The movie is basically a food-raiding adventure with no compelling main plot for us to sink our teeth into. It tries to teach us the importance of family but this appears redundant and obligatory. Also, it lacks a villain nasty enough for us to hiss at. There is the exterminator and a bear (Nick Nolte) involved, but they may even be considered victims.

THE LOWDOWN? Over The Hedge is intelligent and entertaining enough for the family and it may even change some of our kids’ perception of junk food.


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