Office Christmas Party
Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…
"Over the Hedge" is one of the few comic strips in which you will find debates about the Theory of Relativity, population control and global warming. None of those issues are much discussed in the new animated feature inspired by the strip, but there is a great deal about suburban sprawl, junk food and the popularity of the SUV ("How many people does it hold?" "Usually one.")
The movie opens with the coming of spring and the emergence from hibernation of many forest animals, including some that do not actually hibernate, but never mind. Vincent the bear (voice by Nick Nolte) awakens to find that his entire stash of stolen food has been -- stolen! He apprehends the master thief RJ the raccoon (Bruce Willis) and gives him a deadline to return the food, or else. RJ cleverly mobilizes the entire population of the forest to help him in this task (during which he does not quite explain the bear and the deadline). And together they confront an amazing development: During the winter, half of their forest has been replaced by a suburb, and they are separated from it by a gigantic hedge.
That's the setup for a feature cartoon that is not at the level of "Finding Nemo" or "Shrek," but is a lot of fun, awfully nice to look at, and filled with energy and smiles. It's not a movie adults would probably want to attend on their own, but those taking the kids are likely to be amused, and the kids, I think, will like it just fine.
Once again we get an animal population where all the species work together instead of eating each other, and there is even the possibility of interspecies sex, when a human's house cat falls in love with Stella the skunk (Wanda Sykes). There is also the usual speciesism; mammals and reptiles are first-class citizens, but when a dragonfly gets fried by an insect zapper, not a tear is shed.