In a city park, Surly the Squirrel has finally gone too far with his latest caper leading to the animal community's winter food cache being destroyed. Now exiled, Surly and his rat buddy Buddy's collective nightmare on the streets ends when they discover a nut store to raid. Meanwhile, the squirrels, the heroic Andie and the ditsy Grayson, are charged by Raccoon to find a new food source and Andie runs into Surly. With no other options, she arranges a deal to help in Surly's heist for the colony, even while Surly fully intends to betray it. However, there is more going on with the nut store being a front for bank robbers while Raccoon has his own agenda to ensure his own power. In the mayhem to come, Surly finds himself challenged in ways he never expected and discovering the real prize to treasure in this adventure. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (email@example.com)
Surly, an adjective and a name apparently, embarks on an adventure to obtain food for the approaching winter. He runs across some wacky characters and antics ensue. The Good: Art- The time spent on the animal and human designs was readily apparent throughout the film. I could pick out individual hairs in the animals' coats. I also liked that the artists paid attention to the animals' mouths. They were not just mere flaps of skin covering teeth, but it looked like the mouth region actually had some depth, that the lips were also 3D along with the rest of the animal. The humans had a distinct look and style about them that made me think of 2D cartoons. Big and imposing, shady and dangerous, cute and cuddly, the artwork certainly helped draw a person in. Ambition- The Nut Job tried to draw on several genres of film. It attempts to reshape these stories and form into a family friendly movie. I could spot a crime drama, a voyage of self discovery, a tale of redemption and rejoining society, just to name a few. The film also provided some rudimentary information about the animal species through dialogue, so it did have some educational moments. Whether or not the film succeeded in its ambitions will be covered in the not-so-good section. The Not-So-Good: Pacing- What a colossal mess. The Nut Job is a short 86 minutes and the film tried to show at least three different story arcs. The audience is not shown how the characters will respond to any event because the next event is following hot on the heels of its predecessor. Because of this, any connection or concern for the characters is lost in the fray of action and fart jokes...yes, I'll get there too. Characters- Unfortunately the pacing of the film allows the survival of only the most basic character types. Might as well forget about character development too. And learning. And change for the better. Comedy- I had hoped that the family film genre had grown past this, I really did. Situational and character-based comedy has made significant headway into the family films. Granted it may be a little silly to laugh at Mr. Potato-Head's parts stuck in a flour tortilla, but I found it to be incredibly funny. Or how about when a mermaid becomes a human and, as a result of misguiding information told to her in a previous scene, she puts a fork and a pipe to hilarious use at the dinner table. Fart jokes. Maybe with the compressed story arcs, the only form of comic relief could come from this. The Nut Job tried to meld several different genres and in so doing, did not execute any of them well. You've seen better representatives of the genres attempted here and I'd suggest seeing them instead. 4/10
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