Don’t Hedge Your Bet: See “Over the Hedge”

3.5 out of 5 stars

Note: I caught this film on TV recently, and I am happy to report that still makes me laugh to this day.  Most of the adult jokes hit, and the voice acting is fine.   While it has some problems, I would recommend it for a family film night.  Also, my comment about the film being as good as “Shrek” is no longer true.  Other than that, enjoy the review!

RJ (voiced by Bruce Willis) is a raccoon in some big trouble. When RJ tries to steal some food from a grizzly bear (Vincent played by Nick Nolte) he accidentally drops it, and it rolls down the mountain, lands on a freeway, and a truck runs over all of it. What’s worse, Vincent wakes up, sees that all of his food is gone, and tells RJ that he will give him one week to retrieve all the food he lost and get it back to the cave or he will have RJ for breakfast!

Meanwhile, things are not looking very good for the forest animals that wake up from hibernation to find that half their forest is gone, and a giant hedge (which they temporarily call Steve) is in its place. The forest leader, Verne the turtle, goes across ‘Steve’ to see what is on the other side. Once over the hedge, Verne (Garry Shandling) is confused about all of the human things. He starts getting the humans’ attention who then start hitting him with various objects before he finally gets away from the humans and back to the animals who thought the hedge had eaten Verne.

Then along comes RJ who meets the animals and he quickly replaces Verne as leader. That is when the fun really starts! There’s Stella the skunk (Wanda Sykes), Ozzie the porcupine (William Shatner) and his daughter Heather, and the always energetic squirrel, who I like to think of as a human caffeine machine, named Hammy. RJ starts taking them over the hedge to show them around the neighborhood a lot, and to get the food for the bear.

The first time they go over the hedge RJ tells them how humans work. Everything is about food. The phone summons the food. Vehicles deliver the food. We then see a pizza man delivering the food, and RJ says the door is a portal, for the food. The family saying the blessing is described by RJ as the altar, to the food. And finally, last but not least RJ explains to the animals that “the food the humans don’t eat goes into the shiny silver cans, just for us.”

But the humans are starting to notice that animals are stealing their food, so one of the humans calls an exterminator to get rid of the problem. Will the exterminator get the animals? Will RJ get the food to the bear in time? See this comedy to find out! It is rated PG for some rude humor and mild comic action. I’m happy to say there wasn’t any bad language in this one. Hurray! Also, this movie is from the creators of “Shrek” and “Madagascar,” and I thought it was as good as “Shrek.”

If you liked “Shrek,” you’ll like this!

“RV”: What a Ride to Boredom

2.5 out of 5 stars (not totally awful, but not good either)

Once upon a time Cassie (Jo-Jo Levesque) used to love her dad (Robin Williams playing Bob Munro) until puberty kicked in and she became a snot-nosed, typical teenager. Now she wants little to do with her dad or her mom, and she treats her 12 year old brother Carl like scum. Carl is played by Josh Hutcherson of “Zathura,” and mom, Jamie, is played by Cheryl Hines.

Bob thinks that Cassie doesn’t love him anymore so after hearing about one of the other employees at the soda company where he works taking his family on an RV trip every summer, he decides to take his own family on a motor home vacation that turns into a disaster. His family gets really mad when Bob tells them this RV trip has to replace their family vacation to Hawaii which they had been looking forward to for a “verrry” long time. He also doesn’t tell them that while on the RV trip he has to write a presentation for the soda company and for his idiot boss (who never considers that his ways might be endangering the fish of the ocean or other animals). He keeps telling his family that he has to go to the bathroom, where he really sneaks off to try to finish and send his presentation.

Their adventures include running into a strange western family, getting stuck in the rain, and fighting a family of raccoons! One of the funny parts was when Bob has to put a stink bomb in the RV to get the raccoons out of it. It gets them out, but it keeps Bob and his family out too…in the pouring rain! In another hilarious part of the movie, Bob notices that the sewage tank is full and finds a place for unloading sewage. He finds two goofballs who think they are “experts” on the sewage line, but after they tamper with the lines there is an explosion of poop and it all rains down on Bob’s head. Poor Bob.

Unfortunately this movie was slow as a snail out of action in some parts and it didn’t really have a point. For example, Bob’s boss was afraid of germs; pointless! I should have gone to “Akeelah and the Bee” like Mike Boylan asked me to.

Rated PG for crude humor, innuendo, and language, or for poor grammar.

By the way, there are about three “SOB’s” in long form-it was truly shocking.


“The Wild”: Too Mild for My Taste

2 out of 5 stars (has some good moments, but is overall bad)

Are good movies for 11 year-olds extinct these days?

Samson (voiced by Keifer Sutherland) is a lion father whose son Ryan is tense because he can’t roar. They live in the New York City Zoo, and kids usually laugh at Ryan’s kitty-cat roar. Ryan (Greg Cipes) decides to run away.

Ryan has heard about green boxes which his father tells him are bad news. Regardless of what Samson says, Ryan goes into one anyway and gets trucked away. His cries for help grab the attention of Samson who then tries to save him, but doesn’t make it in time.

Samson then enlists the help of his friends. Nigel the koala (Eddie Izzard), Benny the squirrel (James Belushi), Larry the snake (Richard Kind), and Bridget the giraffe (Janeane Garofalo). Benny has a crush on Bridget, but she’s playing hard to get. Of course, a squirrel dating a giraffe is very unlikely.

Then they are off to the wild to save Ryan before it’s too late. The rest of the movie is basically about them going to the wild and having many adventures. If Walt Disney were alive, this movie wouldn’t have stunk like a baby’s diaper. They copied off “Madagascar” in such a stupid way that my mom fell asleep. Disney should have stuck with “The Lion King.”

I laughed a lot at different parts of the movie. I thought it was funny that they had little Nigel dolls that said “I like you” when koalas generally don’t have a warm sense of humor. Nigel also has a near puke experience when they are running through the city and he is hanging on one of Bridget’s legs, crying “Gonna throw up, gonna throw up!”

My least favorite part was that the story got off track. Way too many things were going on at the same time and I was thinking “Huh? Huh?” The lesson to this movie is that you should be happy with who you are and not try to be somebody else, but they focused very little on Ryan’s original roar problem. Rated G for Good Riddance! (But I would recommend it for 8 year-olds and below).

“Ice Age 2”: Freezingly Funny

2 out of 5 stars (has some good moments, but is overall bad)

The gang from “Ice Age” is back in an all new adventure-”Ice Age-The Meltdown.” The Ice Age is beginning to end, and the animals are pretty happy until it starts to get too melted.

Sid the sloth and his pals start to notice that the valley is melting and will eventually flood, so Sid, Manny and Diego hit the road again. When a villainous vulture tells them about a boat he knows of, they decide to go along with all the rest of the animals. As you might expect, they get lost in their own path and meet up with Ellie (Queen Latifah) who is another mammoth but thinks she’s a possum like her “brothers.” One of the brothers is played by Josh Peck of “Drake and Josh.” Later, Manny tries to impress Ellie by hanging from his tail on a tree limb. Now there’s something you don’t see every day!

Before he meets Ellie, Manny thought he was the last mammoth on earth. When he takes Ellie on a date he starts telling her that they should save their species, or better known in this day and age as “innuendo.”

I really liked the scene where Sid is kidnapped by a bunch of other sloths who worship him. However, there were too many musical numbers for my taste. For instance, the vultures start singing “Food, glorious food! and it takes up too much of the movie. In another scene, which is one of the best parts of the movie, Skrat, Mr. “OOH, I will never give up trying to get my acorn even when it keeps getting taken away from me” Squirrel, has a near death experience. When he gets to heaven he sees the Pearly Gates, or in his case, “The Squirrelly Gates”

Too bad I didn’t get the same good feeling as I got from the first “Ice Age.”

I give this movie two stars because I didn’t think it was as good as the first one. It is rated PG for some mild language and innuendo.

“Pink Panther” is the Cat’s Meow

From the 1963 Pink Panther, this remake is even better than the original. Steve Martin (Cheaper by the Dozen 2) is Inspector Clouseau, a French policeman who’s never getting anywhere because he’s an idiot. But Clouseau’s luck changes when he’s promoted to inspector by the chief.

The chief, played by Kevin Kline, has promoted this nowhere man in an evil plot to make himself look good by making Clouseau look stupid. The evil plot stinks like a kitty’s litter box.

Soon, strange things start happening. Clouseau gets a partner and he is sent to America to follow the girlfriend of a killed soccer coach named Gluant. Clouseau’s partner suggests that he see an English therapist to learn how to talk in America. Later he gets in trouble and goes to jail for not being able to clarify that he has hamburgers in his pocket at the airport. This is one of the things I really kind of liked about the movie. He is trying to say “hamburger” but he says it in his French way instead.

One of the players on the team, Bizu, gives the inspector more information. But shortly after, Bizu is also killed. Once in jail, the detective learns that his partner is spying on him, trying to solve the case himself.

Beyonce Knowles, playing Gluant’s girlfriend, really made me think I was in heaven in this movie. Since I’m only 11, I shouldn’t like girls yet, and neither should the rest of you little whippersnappers, but, she’s really cute. I’m sure Beyonce will get a real husband one day.

Will the diamond be found? Will the detective get out of jail? Watch this comedy to find out. It’s funnier than six French peas in a pod. Rated PG for occasional crude and suggestive humor and language.

“Nanny McPhee” Worth a See

3.5 out of 5 stars (above average)

Note: in the years since this review, I have watched this film many times over and found it to be deeper than I originally realized.  All of the performances are first class, and the mixture of fantasy, comedy, and drama is perfect.  My rating would now be 3.9 out 5 stars (close to being one of the best of the year, if not for some minor issues).  While it isn’t perfect, this film was one of the first dramedies I ever saw, and I respect it for that.

Cedric Brown (Colin Firth) is a dad who works with the dead and has seven little problems, ahem, I mean children. His children have once again, for the 17th time, made the nanny run out of the house screaming. Soon he receives a mysterious call and sees an ad in the paper for a new nanny, a government nanny, who somehow just walks up to the door and ding-dongs the doorbell.

Once Cedric opens the door he sees a large, two-warted, protruding-toothed, bulbed-nose nanny, who proceeds to walk into the house and say, “I’m Nanny McPhee.” She (played by Emma Thompson although you wouldn’t know it) asks Cedric five questions about the children:

• Do they go to bed when they’re told? (No.)
• Do they get up when they’re told? (No.)
• Do they say please? (No.)
• Do they get dressed when they’re told? (No.)
• And finally, do they listen? (No.)

Cedric says “Uhhhhhhhhhhhhh …” so she decides to stay.

Once Nanny McPhee goes into the kitchen she meets her “problems.” The seven children have tied up their poor cook (Imelda Staunton), who’s always saying, “These children are NOT allowed in the kitchen — I have it in writing!” They are putting socks into the soup, jumping off the chandeliers, making green slimy stuff, and having food fights.

After Peter, one of the children, tells her they won’t stop, she taps her mysterious stick on the ground and they are unable to stop. Just before the baby is about to be thrown into the soup, Peter says, “Please Nanny McPhee, STOP!”

First lesson learned. Nanny McPhee then marches them off to bed and so the lessons start.

Some of the other characters in the movie are the widow Mrs. Quickly, a yellow-haired, evil chatterbox who will never shut up. She’s after Cedric’s money (as most evil stepmothers are) and he will lose the money if he does not marry before the end of the month. Their rich Aunt Adelaide (Angela Lansbury from “Beauty and the Beast”) controls the money since the children’s mother died (yes, the mom died for the millionth time) and she wants him to remarry. She’s blind as a bat, ladies and gentleman, and in one part she thinks that a dancing donkey is one of the children.

The other main character is Evangeline, the scullery maid who is played by Kelley McDonald. She believes that in every child there is a hint of good, even if it’s hard to see. She’s in love with Cedric, but she’s afraid he wouldn’t want to marry her because she doesn’t know how to read.

This movie is a little bit funny, especially the dancing donkey and the scene where the 17th nanny comes running out the door screaming, “They ate the baby!” Some parts are kind of slow, like when snooty Aunt Adelaide is in the house talking about her hat she got from the “Lady.”

I give it 3 and half stars, though, because overall it was a good show. Rated PG for some thematic elements and the fact that he talks to a dead guy.