run time: 85 mins
considered: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
starring: Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser, Liam Neeson, Katherine Heigl, Stephen Lang, Maya Rudolph,
movie summary: Surly (Will Arnett) is a purple squirrel who is a go it alone kind of guy who has one friend, a rat named Buddy, who can’t talk. Over the years Surly has done some crazy stuff, like burn down trees and destroy the winter stock, so Racoon (Liam Neeson) holds a vote to banish him away. He leaves the park despite a protest from two other squirrels, Andie (Katherine Heigl) and Grayson (Brendan Fraser), who think if he just changed his attitude he could be a great fit for the park family.
Instead of climbing from tree to tree he is now walking the telephone wires in the city where a pack of street rats gang up on him in an attempt to eat him. He barely escapes with his life, when Buddy shows up to save the day and the two fall off a roof top in front of a nut shop. They celebrate like they just won the lottery and then quickly hatch a plan to get into the shop where thousands of nuts await them. Once inside they stuff their faces all night long before being chased out of the shop by the guard dog Precious (Maya Rudolph). Back on the streets, Surly and Buddy bump into Andie and Grayson, who have been sent out on a mission from the park to find food. Surly tries his best to hide his diamond mind of nuts but spills the beans and Raccoon sends out a new team of animals to aid the break in, steal all the nuts, and double cross Surly.
Back inside the nut shop, a group of wise guys are using the store as a front to dig a tunnel to rob the bank across the street. The animals led by Surly, Andie, Grayson, and Buddy begin to draw out a fool-proof plan to dig a hole under the wall to get the nuts out. The plan falls apart in front of the wise guys who shoot their guns at the squirrels who flee out of the building. The guys patch up the hole with cement so Surly must go back to the drawing board to come up with a new plan. The other animals are now whispering amongst themselves to figure out how to get the nuts and leave Surly without anything. The new plan is to dig into the wise guy’s tunnel under the bank to get the nuts out that way.
On the day of the heist, the animals manage to get their hole dug and are loading the bags of nuts when Raccoon shows up to take all the food for himself. Andie can’t believe that Raccoon was behind the whole plan to double cross all the animals and keep the nuts to control the park. The wise guys manage to steal all the money from the bank and load the money bags into two vans, which the animals use to haul away their nuts. Surly is thrown from the van and after all his hard work is left with nothing until Grayson manages to save the day. He recruits some pigeons to pick Surly up and fly him back to the van where he can join Andie and Buddy to put a stop to Raccoon and save the nuts.
my thoughts: I can see why this low-budget animated movie was not picked up by the two major animated companies, Disney’s Pixar and Dreamworks, because it’s not a good movie. The theatre was packed on Saturday night and I seemed to be one of the few who were laughing out loud. There are some really funny moments, but they were just so random and far apart that it made seem like the movie lack consistency. It was amazing to know this movie had a production budget of $48 million and after two weeks has already that back, which prompted a sequel to be pushed into the works immediately. The plot and characters are simple enough to make a series of other movies, but quite frankly there is no need. This movie was released during a slow time which allowed it to be so successful even with an all-star voice cast.
My recommendation to anyone interested in this movie is please save your $15.99 (it’s in 3D) and wait for it on a cheap day to take the kids or hold out longer for it on VOD or Netflix.
my star rating: 4 out 10