FilmReview

Review: The Nut Job Has its Moments but Ultimately Falls Flat

Sheba Wood ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Andie (voiced by Katherine Heigl) and Surly (voiced by Will Arnett) in The Nut Job. Photo Credit: Toonbox Entertainment.
Andie (voiced by Katherine Heigl) and Surly (voiced by Will Arnett) in The Nut Job. Photo Credit: Toonbox Entertainment.

The Nut Job is a new animated that follows the story of a squirrel named Surly (Will Arnett of Arrested Development) who is exiled from the park in which he lives and must navigate and survive in a big city. While Surly is away, the park is reeling with the fact that they do not have enough food to sustain themselves for the winter and Surly ends up having to help save not only himself, but those struggling around him.

The style of animation in this film is similar to that of Pixar’s Up. However, seeing it in 3D (an effect that was not fully utilized) made for some slightly blurry scenes and over saturated colors. On a positive note, the animated animals were very precise and reminiscent of actual squirrels, minus of course their human elements. But although their movement was realistic, the art design was very simple and the lack of detail was visually confusing and caused further blurriness. It is best not to see this movie in 3D.

As for the voice acting, the range of talent displayed was entertaining even though it may have failed to be appreciated by its target audience. The movie, like many for children, attempts to educate young people on fundamental values while using humor to capture and hold attention. The two biggest comics in the cast, apart from Will Arnett, are stand-up comedians Jeff Dunham, a world-famous ventriloquist and Gabriel Iglesias, an entertainer who specializes in celebrity impressions.

Buddy and Precious the Pug (voiced by Maya Rudolph) in The Nut Job. Photo Credit: Toonbox Entertainment.
Buddy and Precious the Pug (voiced by Maya Rudolph) in The Nut Job. Photo Credit: Toonbox Entertainment.

The cast also features Saturday Night Live alumna Maya Rudolph as well as action stars Liam Neeson and Brendan Fraser (who wins for the most amusing performance). While these actors are well suited for adult humor, they may have lacked the ability to strongly appeal to a younger crowd. If the only laughter in the theater is coming from parents awkwardly trying to make sure their children are having fun, something is wrong. Perhaps it is because most people would not expect to see Liam Neeson as an animated raccoon.

While the movie is not the most entertaining of its kind, it still has heartfelt and uplifting moments. The themes also center around positive values of friendship, sharing, honesty, loyalty and bravery. The insights of some of the characters might dive slightly too deep for young children, but for parents looking for a wholesome movie to experience as a family, this one is ideal.

Overall Grade: C+

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