Monday, May 26, 2014

The Nut Job

Centered around a selfish squirrel named Surly (Will Arnett) and his mute rat pal Buddy who are exiled from their home in Liberty Park after the squirrel's latest act of selfishness costs the rest of the animals the much-need food for the winter, The Nut Job is a mess that tries to do far too much (most of it not all that well). There's a nice message buried deep, deep, deep down, but I'm betting most will lose interest before discovering it.

Set against a human bank robbery, the exiled Surly works with a pair of squirrels, the honest Andie (Katherine Heigl) and the the ridiculous park "hero" Grayson (Brendan Fraser), to make the biggest score of his life by robbing a Nut Store at the same time. Complicating things are the fact that nobody, other than perhaps Andie, is at all likable in the film and the fact that the real villain isn't the selfish Surly but the power-mad Raccoon (Liam Neeson) running the park who decides to thwart the plan realizing his control may falter if the animals are all happy and fed.

There are some nice moments here and there where we glimpse Surly can be more than just a con man and thief, and the unlikely friendship between Surly and the robbers dog Precious (Maya Rudolph) provides most of the movie's best moments, but most of the Raccoon's nefarious antics and those of the human thieves are unnecessary clutter filling up far too much of the movie's 85-minute running time. Despite including two separate heists the animated feature doesn't really work as a heist film either as neither that of the humans nor the animals is all that inspired or interesting.

The DVD includes the animated short which inspired the movie and a second short featuring Surly and Grayson. Both the Blu-ray and 3D Blu-ray editions of the movie also include DVD and Ultraviolet digital copies of the movie, a behind-the-scenes featurette with Will Arnett, deleted scenes, storyboards, and the dance-off number from the movie's closing credits.

[Universal Studios, DVD $29.98 / Blu-ray $34.98, 3D Blu-ray $49.98]

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