Over the Hedge
Starring: Bruce Willis (who I love because he's not afraid to be silly), Gary Shandling (in his least annoying role ever), Steve Carell (I normally can't stand him, but here he's great), William Shatner, Avril Lavigne, Wanda Sykes, Allison Janney (who knew she could play so evil?), many others
MPAA Rating: PG, for rude humor and mild comic action. Wait, what is "mild comic action" supposed to mean? Is that supposed to mean the part where the skunk does her skunk thing? Is slapstick comedy a PG thing now?
The Plot: As if you hadn't figured it out from all 497 million commercial spots. A group of forest animals wake up from hibernation to find that most of their forest has been cleared and turned into a suburb. A raccoon named RJ (Bruce Willis) shows up and teaches the others how to steal food from the humans. He has an ulterior motive. The Homeowners Association President has motives of her own. Bonus: this movie is based on a comic strip by the same name. It was written by a man who lived in Houston (!) and saw how the wildlife had to try and live right in the middle of civilization. Double bonus: the day after I saw this movie, I saw a dead racoon in the road near a shopping center, not fifty yards away from the nearest suburb.
What annoyed me: The previews. No, seriously. I am so sick of seeing that stupid preview with the animated penguin, voiced by Robin Williams, singing "I Did It My Way" in Spanish. It looks stupid, and I will not see it. Besides which, it scares my children. Both of them. Every time. Crying. Stop showing it. I also refuse to see Santa Clause 3, because Tim Allen does not need encouragement to keep making dumbass movies. Also, sequels to GOOD movies don't usually do as well as the original, so I don't see why anyone thinks it's a good idea to make a sequel to a SUCKY one. (Do not send hate mail. Santa Clause 1 was not bad, but part 2 was a piece of crap, and you know it.)
Should you see Over the Hedge? Yes. Yes you should. Because it was written by a Houstonian. Also, because it's funny, and the kids in the audience were cracking up. The little ones liked it. The big ones liked it. My husband liked it. My four-year-old, I'll admit, was scared during one part of the movie. But not scared enough to scream. And yes, during part of the movie she started climbing over her seat, but only because her little sister did it first, and because she's too little to understand and appreciate the parts of a movie in which a character has a life-changing revelation (a.k.a. the slow part with all the talking). But after the movie was over, she kept talking about what she'd seen, and continued to do so through the next day. That's more than I can say about the last movie we took her to.
And yes, there were a lot of fart jokes. There's a skunk, people. Get over it. For a couple of hours, pretend you're still in fourth grade and fine that stuff funny. Once you leave, you may resume your hoity toity I-cahn't-aBIDE-bahthroom-hyumour attitude.
Spoilers: The spooky part that scared my daughter was the bear. It was chasing down the animals and attacking an exterminator truck and roaring and trying to eat things that were still alive. Yeah, my daughter hid her little face in the armrest. But afterward, she was fine. She still sleeps with her bear, and does not seem to have had any nightmares. The savage bear still didn't scare her as much as that stupid singing penguin from the preview.
My favorite parts were the cracks about the Homeowner's Association. Honestly, I think the Homeowner's Assoc. may very well be the prime indicator of the downfall of civil liberty. If you own a property that belongs to an HA, they can actually dictate who you sell your house to, what flowers you can plant, what color you can paint your house, whether or not you can have a flag pole on your property, whether or not you can park in your own driveway, all that jazz. I tell you, it's just WRONG. Homeowner's Associations should be deemed unconstitutional, and all the HA presidents should be made to suffer. Which is why I love this movie. Heh heh heh...
So, go see this movie. If you prefer to wait for DVDs, that might not be such a bad idea. I missed some of the lines because the kids in the theater were laughing too hard. I must say, the explosions won't be quite the same without the large screen.
Note to Humble, TX, Deerbrook AMC 24: when you premiere a children's movie, have the courtesy to show it on one of your larger screens, just like you do the adult and teen movies. I'm tired of seeing the animated movies back in screens 8 and 9. Some of the picture is cut off, and the surround sound speakers are starting to fail. Also: fire your projectionist. He clearly can't align the picture to the screen without an extra pair of hands.