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In a beautiful written piece for the New York Times, Trevor Noah paints a picture of his childhood with his mother

The Nut Job (3D)

2014-02-21 08:59
What it's about:

Surly, a curmudgeon, independent squirrel is banished from his park and forced to survive in the city. Lucky for him, he stumbles on the one thing that may be able to save his life, and the rest of park community, as they gear up for winter - Maury's Nut Store.

What we thought:

Just about the only good thing to be said about the Nut Job is that it has some perfectly OK character designs and its animation in general is quite nice. Other than that, this third-rate, Loony Toons rip-off will quickly be forgotten by its target audience(kids still watch Loony Toons, right?), while their parents will be left wondering just how in the hell they got stuck watching a kids film where a bunch of cuddly animals get involved in a bank heist. We've already had speed racing snails and time travelling turkeys but even by those standards The Nut Job seems like something of a stretch.

Putting aside the ludicrous leaps in logic, The Nut Job is also pretty lacking in laughs and its lead character is frankly a bit of an ass. Like most big-budget digital animations, The Nut Job may have a rather good voice cast, including the likes of Will Arnett and Liam Neeson, but they're wasted on bland characters and seriously sub-par writing.

And it's not going to take long to see how wasted Arnett is here. The Lego Movie comes out in a few weeks and his few (voice) appearances as Batman in just the trailers alone, show how well suited he is for voice-acting work and how disappointing he is as Surly the Squirrel.

Here's the problem though: However much adults are all but guaranteed to hate this film and however much their kids are bound to forget all about minutes after leaving the cinema, it's currently the best, if not only, real kids offering at the cinema. And with cuddly animals that cute and that cuddly, there's a pretty good chance your young kids will want to see it.

But hey, maybe I am being too harsh. This is a perfectly innocuous kids flick, with nothing really objectionable about it and with enough cheery cuteness to keep your kids occupied for 85 minutes. Is “inoffensive” really the best we could hope for with this sort of thing? If these sorts of cuddly animated movies are basically guaranteed their audiences, is it really too much to hope that the filmmakers behind them at least put in some effort to make something worthwhile?

The Nut Job was never going to be Toy Story 3, but is aiming for the modest heights of even something like Despicable Me too much to hope for?

Oh. Wait. Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs is still on, isn't it? Never mind then. Go watch that instead.

It's cute, it's cuddly, it's utter garbage. The Nut Job is every bit as bad as its punny title suggests.
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