It’s always interesting when an animated film tries to take a staple of a more adult genre, for lack of a better word, and adapt into something designed for children. The Nut Job is an animated take on the heist tale and doesn’t really succeed in doing anything but ape the genre accordingly. It’s perfectly acceptable as a film but it doesn’t succeed beyond the “perfectly acceptable” entertainment level of a film, especially a children’s animated film.
Surly (voice of Will Arnett) and his mute pal Buddy stumble onto a treasure trove of nuts, AKA Maury’s Nut Shop, and decide they ought to rob it. It’s a mob front, of course, but it actually contains a lot of cashews, almonds and the like. Joined by Lana (Katherine Heigl), who talks her way onto the team, the trio has a task. Surly wants all of the nuts for himself and Buddy, of course, and Lana wants to use them to help feed the animals of the Park they all live in.
It’s a fairly standard riff on the heist genre, adapting the more mature format for children, but it doesn’t really do all that much with it. This is a film populated with slapstick gags befitting its ‘50s setting, back when guys called women “dames,” but it doesn’t do all that much with it. It appropriates the setting but doesn’t do anything with it. Most of the gags are predictable, even the ones that work, and even the film’s ending with one hit wonder Psy performing “Gangnam Style” as an animated character doesn’t do much besides remind us that most of the gags in this film were relevant before it was released, not during.
The Nut Job is the perfect sort of film to throw on for small children to be entertained by the pretty colors but anything more is just wasting your time.
There isn’t much to do in terms of significant extras. Some animated shorts can be worth your time but the usual suspects (EPK piece, deleted scenes, storyboards) are included and don’t add much back into the viewing experience.
Open Road Films presents The Nut Job . Directed by Peter Lepeniotis. Written by Lorne Camerone and Peter Lepeniotis. Starring voice cast of Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser, Gabriel Iglesias, Liam Neeson, Katherine Heigl. Running time: 86 minutes. Rated G. Released: April 15, 2014.
Tags: Liam Neeson, The Nut Job, Will Arnett