91 of 105 people found the following review helpful
Pure Summer Fun
, May 19, 2006
"Over the Hedge" is funny. Pure summer fun, the kind of movie a car full of seventh grade boys see with a car full of seventh grade girls. While it was only released in May, it has all the makings of a summer movie, like the old Peanuts movies. Nothing here is too complicated to understand, most of it is pretty silly, and all of it is safe for the entire family.
When movies are made, they intend an audience, and an audience reaction. Here, the bar was not set to be compared to the sentimental depth of "Finding Nemo," or the abject, hyperactive hilarity of "Aladdin." Here, "Over the Hedge" has a basic plot, and a basic conflict, and does the job it sets out to do.
RJ the Raccoon owes a very angry bear a wagon load of snacks, and realizes the new human suburb is packed with these snacks. He meets up with a friendly, but not too smart neighborhood of small forest animals, led by a careful-thinking turtle named Vern.
The characters are strong, each is distinguished from the other, with distinctive personalities, unlike the overblown homogeny found in some cartoons. This matters especially here, as there are more animals than some younger children will be familiar with.
Can RJ persuade the animals to help him steal the snacks from the humans? Will Vern remain the sensible leader, and help them avoid the 'Verminator' and his viscous animal killing tools?
For me, the funniest scene is an almost Matrix-like action sequence when the ordinarily hyper Hammy drinks a caffeine drink and goes in on a mission. Time stops, but not for Hammy.
The animation is good enough, and the story is told straight-ahead, without catchy songs. No one will leave the theater thinking, "That's incredible production value!" They will leave laughing, with an original story.
The structure of the movie is the reverse of Man vs his environment. As the humans take over former forest, there are fewer places for the animals to find food. Naturally, the animals smell potato chips and want more. Naturally, also, the humans want to retain a hedge between the woods and their home.
Messages about Man encroaching on his environment are throughout, but these do not overtake the movie. It might leave a few suburban moms and dads feeling a little sheepish, but everyone will laugh too much to really have a guilt trip.
I fully recommend "Over the Hedge."
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