Director: Peter Lepeniotis
Cast: Will Arnett, Katherine Heigl, Brendan Fraser and Liam Neeson
Running Time: 85 mins
Release Date: August 1st
It’s been a vintage year so far for animated features, with Frozen, The Lego Movie and How To Train Your Dragon 2 all receiving glowing reviews and cramming people into movie theatres. The Nut Job attempts to capitalise on these successes but a combination of poorly drawn characters and an uninspiring plot leave this one languishingly firmly in the ‘wait for the DVD’ ranks.
Surly, ably voiced by Will Arnett, is a self-centred squirrel living in a city park also populated by birds, raccoons, moles, and Surly’s non-speaking best friend, Buddy the mouse. Together the two of them forage for food and remain apart from the rest of the animals, who live in a sort of commune presided over by Raccoon, voiced by Liam Neeson. When food is running low, and one of Surly’s escapades results in the park’s entire food stock being destroyed, he is voted out of the park, banished to live in the city.
This all sets the scene for a classic caper movie, where animals plan to heist a stash of nuts from a bunch of mobsters who are planning their own heist on a local bank. If that sounds convoluted then it certainly suits the film. The plot features many twists and turns, allegiance-shifting and deceptions which will certainly confuse any children actually trying to follow it. While mildly amusing for the most part, there is an over-reliance on ‘nuts’ gags and fart jokes at times in the movie. There are also a couple of really off-kilter moments of violence, such as one of the gangsters appearing to threaten to torture our hero Surly with a blowtorch.
The animation is slick and glossy, but none of the characters stand out. It’s all very run-of-the-mill, yet towards the end of the movie there’s a scene in a river where the water effects are stunning and hint at what might have been. In terms of the 3D version, don’t waste your time or money, it brings absolutely nothing to the film. All that being said, you go into these movies with your eyes open and while there’s nothing here to excite or keep adults interested, the kids will enjoy it on a rainy weekend. You may as well give in to it as a sequel has already been announced for 2016. Oh, and if you’re wondering why there’s an animated Psy singing ‘Gangam Style’ during the end credits, The Nut Job is a South Korean produced movie, sadly it’s probably one of the most amusing parts.