Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature review

By Nico Beland
Movie Review: * ½ out of 4
Surly and the gang are back in The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature

            Comedy superstar, Will Arnett (Arrested Development, Blades of Glory, The Lego Movie) is back as the voice of Surly the squirrel in the sequel to the 2014 animated film, The Nut Job…a movie that critics certainly ripped apart but was a modest success with the kids. Apparently, that was enough to warrant a sequel, The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature, one of the worst sequel titles to a movie I’ve seen in a long time and I’ve seen the ‘Squeakquels”.
            Were people asking for this? Was The Nut Job seriously so sacred that the story had to continue? No, I got it, this movie was created by people with the mindset of the evil mayor from this movie and it exists solely for making money with very little effort thrown in, aside from the cartoony animation and voice talent.
            After the nut shop from the last movie unexpectedly exploded, Surly and the park animals must relocate their home and regain their instincts to find food. They discover a plot by the evil mayor of Oakton City (voiced by Bobby Moynihan-Saturday Night Live, Monsters University, The Secret Life of Pets) to bulldoze their old home, Liberty Park and replace it with a dangerous and extremely cheap amusement park.
            So, it’s up to Surly, Andie (voiced by Katherine Heigl-Roswell, Grey’s Anatomy, State of Affairs), Buddy the rat (voiced by Tom Kenny-SpongeBob Squarepants, The Powerpuff Girls, Adventure Time), Precious the pug (voiced by Maya Rudolph-Away We Go, Bridesmaids, The Angry Birds Movie), Mole (voiced by Jeff Dunham-The Tonight Show, Comedy Central Presents, The Jeff Dunham Show), Jimmy the groundhog (voiced by Gabriel Iglesias-The Emperor’s New School, Gabriel Iglesias Presents Stand Up Revolution, The Fluffy Movie), Johnny the groundhog (voiced by Sebastian Maniscalco-The Jay Leno Show, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee), Jamie the groundhog (voiced by Keri Wahlgren-Gravity Falls, Planes: Fire & Rescue, Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast), and a group of cute but deadly mice led by Mr. Feng (voiced by Jackie Chan-Operation Condor, The Forbidden Kingdom, Kung Fu Panda trilogy) that the animals befriend to fight for their home and foil the mayor’s plan before the park is demolished.
            The film also features the voices of Isabela Moner (100 Things to Do Before High School, Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life, Transformers: The Last Knight) as the mayor’s spoiled daughter, Heather, Peter Stormare (The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Minority Report, John Wick: Chapter 2) as deranged animal control officer, Gunther, Robert Tinkler (Sailor Moon, Bakugan: New Vestroia, Inspector Gadget (2015)) as a mouse named Redline, Laraine Newman (Saturday Night Live, As Told by Ginger, Avatar: The Last Airbender) as Daredevil Chipmunk, the film’s producer, Bob Barlen (Escape from Planet Earth) as Handsome Mouse, and voice actors, Jess Harnell (Animaniacs, Crash Bandicoot, Transformers 1-3 and 5) and Fred Tatasciore (Avatar: The Last Airbender, Wander Over Yonder, Star VS the Forces of Evil) as two of the animal control officers.
            Overall, The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature is a waste of time unless you’re a little kid who will laugh at anything. Which is more than what I could say about The Emoji Movie where I would recommend that movie to no one.
            There’s at least an attempt to put effort into this movie even if it backfires severely, the animation is colorful and energetic, the voice acting is decent, and it has a few attempts at comedy and some of them came close to actually working. Specifically, the scenes involving the spoiled daughter, Heather, I don’t know what it is about animated kids’ movies but whenever a child is depicted as this psychotic and aggressive little brat, I always find it amusing and if done well hilarious which is pretty much the highlight of the 1997 animated movie, Cats Don’t Dance for me where the movie overall is decent but the child character is the best thing in the movie, this however is a terrible movie but she was probably the best thing here.
            Unfortunately, Heather wasn’t enough to save the movie from its unoriginal and predictable plot, as the movie was playing I was able to predict exactly where it was going and most of the time it did not disappoint in that regard. It’s one of those “Save the Park and Animals” type movies with the big bad government or corporation trying to bulldoze a landmark, park, or wildlife area for corporate greed with a lazy environmental message thrown in…Yeah, it was old when Hey Arnold and The Muppets did it…and the concept killed itself when Norm of the North did it.

            I can’t really say there’s anything bad in this movie for kids, to the film’s credit it’ll at least keep them busy and possibly satisfied, and despite having a forced environmental message it might open their eyes about keeping animal habitats safe. It’s strictly a kids only movie and nothing more, drop your children off to see it while you go see something else because there really isn’t anything in here for parents, it’s better than The Emoji Movie but still not worthy of family outing material.

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