Hop – Review


Far from a hopping good time

Sometimes you have to wonder if Mr. Hand was right. Maybe everyone is on dope. That may explain the fascination of wanting to bring old cartoons (Alvin and the Chipmunks, Yogi Bear) and make them into feature films that combine traditional live-action with CGI creations. It doesn’t work – seeing people interact with talking bears and chipmunks in a real-world environment. Kids don’t know any better. Which may explain why the output of non-animated kid movies is as pitiful as it is.

Hop is far from a hopping good time. It’s creatively bankrupt and about as empty as a chocolate-coated Easter egg. A fairytale that reveals the ending in the first scene, the framing device only encourages a parent to check his watch every five minutes to see if it’s almost over. Now the film may be heavily marketed from the guys that brought us Despicable Me, but that’s like saying an apple tastes the same as an orange. We are again treated to lame cultural commentary involving our fascination with overnight celebrities created by TV viewers (David Hasselhoff cameos as the host of “Hoff Knows Talent”).  What’s next – a sequel with a certain “winning” star?

Hop is definitely for children, but the filmmakers try too hard to pander other audiences. Because of this you get head-scratching casting decisions: like Chelsea Handler in a straight-laced role and not behaving acerbically; or Hugh Laurie voicing the Easter Bunny and not delivering a single notable one-liner – come on, did nobody bother to look up his resume pre-House?

At a young age, E.B. (voiced by Russell Brand) was in awe of his father (Laurie) and his Willy Wonka-esque candy making facility located on Easter Island. He couldn’t wait to be the next Easter Bunny. All kids go through that stage where they want to be dinosaurs or astronauts or President. E.B. wanted to travel the world and hide eggs. Twenty years later, E.B. no longer wants to oversee the production of chocolate treats and designer hard-boiled eggs. E.B. wants to be a drummer. No, it isn’t to replace that other E.B. – the Energizer Bunny. So he runs away from home to find his fortune in the wilds of Hollywood. It’s there where he encounters the oldest 20-something slacker in California, Fred (played by James Marsden, who is twenty going on 37). Fred thinks he’s hallucinating – maybe he took something mismarked as Valium again – when he sees a talking rabbit. He has been under a lot of stress lately, since his family finally forced him out of the house and into the real world. It’s a world of dog-eat-dog and talking hares, apparently. Soon, Fred discovers E.B.’s musical talents and how he himself has a special connection with the Easter holiday. Oh, and of course there’s a subplot involving a hostile takeover of the Easter Island facility by the Easter Bunny’s number two, Carlos (Hank Azaria). For those wondering, he isn’t a jackal. He’s a baby chick.

It was bound to happen. Some studio would try to cash in on another mythical character and its connection with sweets. Santa Claus leads with numerous motion pictures. Even the Tooth Fairy has one. Why shouldn’t a furball that poops jellybeans get one? The comedy is incredibly lame. And random slapstick only goes so far as to make up for the lack of originality. Kids won’t care, though. They’ll be eating it up and then pester their parents afterward for jellybeans and chocolate as they sing the movie’s anthem “I Want Candy.”  Parents won’t care, because they’ll be satisfying their sons and daughters short attention spans.

Do yourself a favor and don’t hop to Hop. You’d be better off grabbing a carrot cake and having yourself a marathon of Bugs Bunny cartoons and cap the night off with Who Framed Roger Rabbit? a film that combines live-action and animation and does it right.

Director: Tim Hill
Notable Cast: James Marsden, Elizabeth Perkins, David Hasselhoff, and the voices of Russell Brand, Hugh Laurie and Hank Azaria
Writer(s): Cinoc Paul, Ken Daurio and Brian Lynch

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