The Nut Job (2014)


Nothing to see here but an unmemorable animation that fails on likability, visuals, excitement and plot. It’s one of those films that can interest a really young movie goer or someone that isn’t looking for much demand in the way of good films.

This South Korean co produced film released by Open Road Films sees a park in Oakton struggling to find food to store for the oncoming winter, they realise under the order of Raccoon (Liam Neeson) that they may have to work with the selfish Surly (Will Arnett) as he knows how to find and get food. Surly, the park hero Grayson (Brendan Fraser) and obvious love interest Andie (Katherine Heigl) work in the midst of a fake nut store to try and get the bags of food out whilst human burglars use this ‘shop’ front to dig under a nearby bank and steal money.

The only interesting character I thought had some merit was Buddy, Surly’s buddy the rat. He doesn’t even have one speaking word and more could be seen on his face than the guff that came out of some of the other animals’ mouths. A brief moment where he keeps switching sides to stare into Surly’s face gave this movie an actual nice snippet of how sweet and touching it could be and then it was gone. Mole too was slightly funny in the initial exploration of him sent on a mission during the day and being blind but then they kept on playing to it and it lost the humour. The problem with the character work is you don’t feel anything towards them, especially in the case of the lead. Surly is just too unlikable and his comments are never witty or funny to make you feel a strange connection to him, there’s just nothing really.

Animation-wise the look of the film isn’t anything special, in this day and age where other companies strive to make their films stand out this seems to do the opposite and looks like a hack job to get the film out there asap. In Pixar you get finessed detail with water droplets and hair strands, DreamWorks too focuses on the small things to make everything look real. ‘The Nut Job’ fails in having excellent cartoon creativity, the fire and water more than anything looks pretty terrible.

The score for this film is wholly underwhelming with no real kick or drive to it to make the sequences played out feel exciting. Maybe as a child the sight of squirrels and the vague resemblance of a energetic track can do the trick but for the majority it loses any spark and magic from the get go. Even the insanely catchy earworm of PSY’s ‘Gangnam Style’ can’t lift the film from it’s depressing slump.

From obvious villainous turns to uninspired character names there’s not a lot this film really does right, perhaps now and then it has some alright slapstick moments and the dog Precious is quite amusing when she isn’t being annoying but even the vocal cast seem to realise the film isn’t a brilliant affair and they never seem to breathe much life into their characters. It really does seem to aim squarely at children with some red bird attached to Raccoon drawn and behaving like an Angry Bird, farts, multiple ‘you must be nuts’ jokes and all round easy story telling.

Sadly a sequel has already been announced to this uninteresting, messy flat animated drivel.



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