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Monday, February 3, 2014

Movie Review - The Nut Job

The Nut Job $$$


85 Minutes
Starring: Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser, Liam Neeson, and Katherine Heigl.  
Director: Peter Lepeniotis. 

            Since the first time I saw the trailer for this film, I have anxiously waited my chance to watch it in the theaters. What a concept, a twisted take on heist movies with animals looking to score big at a nut store. That’s my kind of movie.
            Surly (Will Arnett) the squirrel is an outsider. He and his rat pal, Buddy (Rob Tinkler), operate separate from the rest of the park community. This means that most of the time they are competing for the same food. Case in point, while Surly and Buddy attempt to rob a nut vendor in the park, Andie (Katherine Heigl) and Grayson (Brendan Fraser) hope to do the same to help restore the food reserves for the rest of the animals in the park. Surly refuses to cooperate in a joint mission where both will benefit. Disaster results and Surly is banished to the city.
All is not lost though, Surly soon stumbles across the nut shop and the plans for a grand heist begins to take shape.  

            The Nut Job bags enough jokes in its 85 minutes to really crack you up. Unfortunately, it fell short of the family classic mark. I think the complex plot and characterization is out of place in an animated feature like this. Don’t get me wrong, I liked it, but I’m not sure everyone will get as big a kick out of it as I did. This is how I rated it.  

1. Fun – It’s a nutty heist movie. That’s fun. There is plenty of slapstick to generate laughs. However, Surly is quite—surly. He is a very unlikable character and that detracts from the light-hearted story that this should be. I gave it only half a MB for fun.  

2. Story – Personally, I like the story. There is character development. There is an amazing array of motives among the cast. In fact, there is too much for a family movie. I feel that what would have been a tremendous plus in a story with adult themes is a drawback here. And I feel that it was a little too predictable.  It earns only half a MB for story.  

3. Technical – It hits all the right notes on the technical side. Good animation. Good audio production. While it probably won’t win any awards in this are it was a very solid effort. I give it a full MB for the technical.  

4. Acting – This is the high point of the film. All of the voice talent did well with their parts. I especially loved Brendan Fraser as Grayson the heroic squirrel and Liam Neeson as Raccoon, the controlling voice of the park community. Acting earns a full MB.   

            I expect that kids will enjoy the movie. They probably won’t care that the plot is overly complex for a family film. Then again, I could be wrong. Frozen out performed it at the box office last week and getting beat by a movie that’s been out for nearly three months is not a good thing. The Nut Job scores 3 Movie Bucks from me.  

                        Randy’s Rating System 

$$$$   = Full Price    See this movie right away and pay full price, it’s worth it.
$$$     = Matinee      Catch this as a matinee or other discounted showing.
$$        = Discount     Wait until this movie reaches a discount theater near you.
$          = Rental         Wait until this movie reaches your local video rental outlet.
0          = No Sale       Don’t see this movie at any price.


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