Thursday, April 3, 2014

Movie Review: "Mr. Peabody & Sherman" (2014)

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Movie"Mr. Peabody and Sherman"
Director: Rob Minkoff
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 32 minutes

Mr. Peabody (Ty Burrell) is a super genius and Nobel Prize-winning inventor…and he is also a dog. As a puppy, he was orphaned because nobody wanted a know-it-all dog as a pet. Instead, Mr. Peabody dedicated his life to the pursuit of self-improvement and academics. One day, Mr. Peabody finds an abandoned baby boy, Sherman (Max Charles). He adopts Sherman and does his best to raise him right. He teaches Sherman about history through the use of one of his inventions, a time machine called the “Way Back.” Sherman is about to start his first day of school, and since he is already way ahead of the other students thanks to Mr. Peabody’s teachings, he draws the ire Penny Peterson (Ariel Winter), who Sherman inadvertently embarrasses with his know-it-all behavior. Penny begins to bully Sherman and in a scuffle, Sherman bites her. This incident is reported to Child Services and an unpleasant woman by the name of Ms. Grunion (Allison Janney), who believes dogs have no business raising humans, threatens to take Sherman away if Mr. Peabody can’t prove he is a fit parent. Mr. Peabody thinks of a plan to wow Penny’s parents, Paul (Steven Colbert) and Patty (Leslie Mann), with an extravagant dinner so they will help convince Ms. Grunion this was all a misunderstanding. During the dinner, Sherman must hang out and entertain Penny, and in the midst of an argument, he tells Penny about the “Way Back.” Penny convinces Sherman to show her how it works. After getting into some trouble in the past, it’s up to Mr. Peabody to save them and set everything right.

After hearing several positive reviews for this movie, BigJ and I decided to see it, even though we were apprehensive.

As kids, both he and I watched episodes of Mr. Peabody. They were roughly drawn, fairly humorous and very punny. While the puns are still there in the newer adaptation, the rough animation we loved has been replaced with CGI animation, and most of the jokes are toilet-centric, which has, as we have mentioned numerous times in the past, become the lowest common denominator in comedy. There are a couple of witty jokes here and there that adults will get and enjoy, but they are few and far between. There's also a pretty overt masturbation joke in this movie, which sort of had us puzzled as to how it made itself into a children's film. We both kind of looked at each other, thinking, "did they just say that!?" Yup, they did! Movies that are made for kids but tend to rely on jokes like this really grind my gears. I know it can be funny, and we do our fair share of laughing at potty humor, but at some point, all of the cartoon fart jokes blend together.

That being said, the actors voicing their respective characters really fit their roles. Ty Burrell has that sarcastic wit about him and he does a good job with what he's given. The little kid who voices Sherman does a great job projecting the innocence of the character. And of course, there's Stephen Colbert, who does what he does best, dry humor that's heavy in sarcasm. Most of the main characters have some redeeming quality about them...well, except for Ms. Grunion. She is a wholly unlikable woman who is despised throughout the film, never to redeem herself. It's almost enraging to see her come on the screen.

All in all, this is another cartoon movie that we did not entirely hate, but didn't necessarily like, either. It has some good punny humor now and then, and the voice actors do enough to keep us interested, but the humor is pretty asinine and basic. We sat through it once, but it's not one we'd go out of our way to own, or even see again.

My Rating: 5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 78%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.

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