Thursday, August 10, 2017

Movie Review: "The Nut Job" (2014)

Director: Peter Lepeniotis
Year: 2014
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Low on supplies, animals from the park must venture into the city to search for food for the winter. They are forced to team up with a selfish squirrel, who has found a nut shop with more than enough food for everyone.

"The Nut Job" is an animated feature written and directed by Peter Lepeniotis. It is based on his own book titled "Surly Squirrel." One could say this film is his magnum opus. It stars the voice talents of Will Arnett as Surly, a selfish squirrel who puts his individual needs above all else. Joining him are Katherine Heigl, Liam Neeson, Brendan Fraser, Jeff Dunham, Stephen Lang, and Maya Rudolph, just to name a few. A collective of park-dwelling animals is doing the daunting task of gathering food for the winter. Surly also lives in the park, but only collects food for himself. Surly's attempt to steal nuts from a nut cart gets all of the park's food stores destroyed. After this happens, he is banished to the city. Once there, Surly discovers a nut store with more nuts than he could ever need. A few animals from the park are also sent into the city and eventually strike a deal with Surly for half of the nuts in the nut store once they figure out a plan to get the nuts. And isn't is just so nutty, this nut store is actually a front for a group of criminals planning a bank heist, and they don't want any nut-craving rodents in their way...ah, nuts.

This flick is basically a period piece heist movie like "The Bank Job," except the animals want nuts instead of money, so naturally, it's a "Nut Job." WOW, SO CLEVER. It is set in the 1950's, though there's no real reason why except to dress the human characters in era-appropriate gangster clothing. There's only a plot in the loosest sense imaginable. Characters regularly spin their wheels while getting into zany situations that serve little purpose other than throwing a few cheap gags at the screen for 85 minutes.

First of all, this movie is not funny. It's full of typical low hanging fruit humor such as regular and unnatural fart jokes. These happen frequently throughout the flick with no success. Brendan Fraser plays a spastic squirrel named Grayson, who is constantly screaming and cowering, but everyone thinks he's a hero. Katherine Heigl's character Andie scolds, and nags, and is generally unpleasant at all times, which is exactly how we'd imagine Heigl to be in real life. Arnett's character Surly is insanely selfish for no reason, which makes it hard for the audience to get behind him as a hero. The plot involving any of the human characters is superfluous and serves no purpose other than to parallel the heist being pulled off by the animals to create secondary antagonists. As if there wasn't enough nuttiness already, Liam Neeson's Racoon gets thrown into the mix. We figured out his shtick in the first five minutes as he navigates these hijinks as an afterthought. Of course, what happens with his character completely negates the lessons of the movie as a whole: "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few," "it's better to work together towards common goals," "there's no I in T-E-A-M," insert idiom here, etc, etc, etc. The whole point of it all is for Surly to learn the importance of working together, but what this movie winds up preaching is "you best look out for yourself because the masses are sheep."

"The Nut Job" is so, so stupid. "The Nut Job" is so, so pointless. "The Nut Job" is so, so not funny. There is nothing good or redeemable about it. It's a waste of celluloid. It only had mediocre success in 2014, so it shocks and offends us that a sequel has been made.

My Rating: 1.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 1.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 10%
Do we recommend this movie: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment