The Nut Job

Surly the Squirrell- The Short Cartoon that this film is based on

The Nut Job

Director: Peter Lepeniotis

Writers: Lorne Cameron, Peter Lepeniotis, Daniel Woo

Voice Cast: Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser, Liam Neeson, Katherine Heigl, Stephen Lang, Maya Rudolph, Jeff Dunham, Gabriel Iglesias, Sarah Gadon, James Rankin, Scott Yaphe, Joe Pingue, Annick Obonsawin, Julie Lemieux, Robert Tinkler

Synopsis: An incorrigibly self-serving exiled squirrel finds himself helping his former park brethren raid a nut store to survive, that is also the front for a human gang's bank robbery.

MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild action and rude humor

Stevennix2001's Rating:

7.0/ 10

Pros:


- Comedy was fairly decent

- Voice acting wasn't that bad

- The animal characters, and settings were rendered well

- Well paced

- Interesting set up on how the bank robbery involving the humans parallel the nut job involving the animal characters.

- 3-D cinematography is very good

Cons:


- The relationship between Andie and Surly felt a bit rushed

- The story is overly generic and predictable

- Brendan Fraser continues to be unfunny in a family comedy

- Film falls into every cliche in the book

- Most of the characters are bland generic stereotypes

No nuts. No glory.

"Nut Job" may not be the best animated family movie that I've ever seen, but it's fairly entertaining for what it is. The story is essentially about a self serving, egotistical, and wise guy squirrel named Surly (Will Arnett), who's been exiled due to an elaborate peanut cart heist gone wrong. Wandering the cold streets alone, as his only friend is a mute rat named Buddy. However, as luck would have it, he ends up finding a nut store near the park; hence the elaborate plan to carry out arguably the biggest nut heist in history is about to begin. Meanwhile, the nut store also serves as a front for a human gang to plan out their elaborate bank robbery.

At first, Surly plans to steal all the nuts for himself, but due to a series of unlikely events, he finds himself teaming up with the park's inhabitants to pull off this nut job. And, that's basically all you really need to know.

Although I won't go on record to say that "The Nut Job" is a bad movie, but it's arguably one of the more predictable ones out there. The film is obviously a kid friendly take on those elaborate heist stories that you've might've seen before in such movies like "Ocean's Eleven", "Tower Heist" and etc. Heck, even the title of the damn movie is a play on words from the original, "Italian Job."

Sadly, unlike those other films that I've mentioned, this one lacks heavily in the originality department. Not only is the story fairly predictable, but it covers almost every cliche in the book. For instance, you know, at some point, Surly is going to learn a lesson about not being a selfish a**hole, and somehow he's going to get redeemed.

And once the double cross happens, you know exactly how it's going to play out. Most of the characters are bland stereotypes that you've seen in other heist stories before. Therefore, if you go into this film with high expectations, then you're going to find yourself severely disappointed.

However, for what the movie is, it's not that bad. The jokes are funny. Albeit predictable, but they'll give your kids a few laughs here and there, as there's nothing bad in "The Nut Job" for kids.

As far as the voice acting goes, it's fairly decent. Although Brendan Fraser seems to play his character like a overly pretentious hero figure; similar to how we've seen him in "Dudley Do-Right." Sadly, he wasn't funny in that particular role years ago, so he's not that much different in this one. Oh what happened to you, Brendan Fraser? You used to be one of Hollywood's top up and coming actors, but it's sad that he's been reduced to these kind of roles. Will Arnett does a good job playing the fast talking con man in "The Nut Job", but he's far more funnier in "The Lego Movie".; same can be said of Liam Neeson as well. Katherine Heigl gives it her best, but it's a shame the relationship between her character and Surly seems a bit rushed.

As for the animation, it's nothing groundbreaking to write home about, but it's fairly decent. The animal characters are rendered fairly well, and I have to give props to the animators for their attention to detail, when it comes to the settings.

Although the story is fairly generic and forgettable, I did find it interesting how they managed to make the bank heist, and the nut job, parallel each other. It was very interesting to watch if only to see how they would pull it off.

Also if you get a chance to see this in 3-D, then you'll definitely get your money's worth in terms of eye candy. However, the story is so bland and generic that it may not even be worth it.

On a different note though, I should advise readers that choose to watch this movie to watch it all the way until the very end of the credits. Like "Muppets Most Wanted", there's various clips shown throughout the credits, so I would definitely watch the movie until the very end.

Overall, "The Nut Job" isn't a bad movie per say, but it's not a great one either. If anything, it's just one of those kind of movies that you'd rent out to keep your kids entertained, but I wouldn't expect too much out of it. But if you want my advice, I'd highly suggest taking your kids to see "The Lego Movie", or "Muppets Most Wanted", instead, as those were much more entertaining than this one.


Gangnam Style- Nut Job Closing Credit dance scene

© 2014 Steven Escareno

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