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Overall Rating
3.74

Awesome: 20.22%
Worth A Look47.19%
Average: 20.22%
Pretty Bad: 11.24%
Total Crap: 1.12%

7 reviews, 47 user ratings


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Over the Hedge
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by Jay Seaver

"Makes a nice jump from the comics page to the movie listings."
3 stars

There's something a tiny bit dishonest about advertising "Over the Hedge"as "from the producers of 'Shrek' and 'Madagascar'". PDI/DreamWorks certainly produced the film, but this thing's been a newspaper comic for years. Not that anyone reads those anymore, though.

Those who still read the papers know that it follows the lives of a group of forest critters whose natural habitat was leveled to make way for a suburban housing development, leaving only a small patch free. Though Verne (a turtle with the voice of Garry Shandling) had been the group's leader in the quest to forage enough food to last them through the winter, their usual hunting grounds are gone, and a recently arrived raccoon, RJ (voice of Bruce Willis) convinces them to start nicking the humans' junk food. What he fails to mention is that as soon as the crew has found enough to fill their hollow log, he intends to hand it off to a bear (voice of Nick Nolte) to whom he owes a previous debt.

Despite a plot which basically encourages theft as long as the victims aren't your own family or friends, this is probably the most kid-centric animated feature that DreamWorks has produced in some time (the Aardman films were acquisitions). That's far from a complaint; Over the Hedge has a consistent tone that many contemporary animated films lack. There's no stopping the movie dead with a pop-culture reference or double entendre that goes straight over the primary audience's heads. The down side of not trying to serve two masters is that the grown-ups may get a little fidgety. The film's relatively gentle sense of humor is never able to really surprise the audience enough to elicit the guffaw. A fair number of chuckles, but not the nearly-incapacitating belly laugh.

DreamWorks continues its practice of star-studded voice casts. It's a very well-chosen and utilized group, for the most part. Bruce Willis gets to break out the manic, fast-talking persona that a career as an action hero and his advancing age has kept him from using much in live action lately. Shandling's wimpy voice is a good match for the character who gets steamrolled by RJ's charisma. Steve Carell is a hoot as Hammy the hyperactive squirrel, and William Shatner's tendency to oversell (and self-parody) is put to good use as a possum who's a bit too enthusiastic about playing dead. Eugene Levy and Catherine O'hara are far from prickly as the heads of a family of porcupines - "prickly" is for Wanda Sykes's skunk. There are a few who seem to be cast as names rather than great voices - Alison Janney as the animals' human nemesis, and Avril Lavinge as the Shatner character's daughter. Thomas Haden Church as the exterminator Janney's character calls made me think "man, does Patrick Warburton have a cold?"

If you didn't know that this film was based on a comic strip going in, it might be difficult to tell. The look is standard-CGI, rather than trying to mimic the style of Michael Fry's and T. Lewis's strip, as can be seen by the side-to-side comparisons during the credits. The four credited writers do a decent enough job of making Over the Hedge a movie with its own through-line as opposed to an assembly of the strip's greatest hits while still managing to keep the main characters mostly intact. The songs by Ben Folds (mostly montage music as opposed to something the characters break into) aren't bad, but aren't up to his usual standards (or even, really, the song he contributed to Hoodwinked). An evil part of me does hope that parents hear the version of "Rocking the Suburbs" played over the end credits and buy their kids the CD by that title which has somewhat different lyrics.

Directors Tim Johnson and Karey Kirkpatrick are experienced hands at animation (Johnson most notably for Antz, while Krikpatrick mainly has experience from the writers' side). They handle their job well enough, and the kids seemed to enjoy what they were seeing. They finish their business in just over an hour and a quarter (including credits that are two songs long), so there's not a lot of wasted effort. At the very least, this movie won't try the audience's patience.

Which, often enough, is all parents need to ask of a movie for their kids. "Over the Hedge" is a solidly average example of that, and should prove amusing enough even to its older audiences.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=14328&reviewer=371
originally posted: 06/26/06 12:17:27
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Tribeca Film Festival For more in the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

5/29/09 ahh amazing 5 stars
1/10/09 Anonymous. adorable and funny :] 4 stars
5/23/08 PAUL SHORTT IT MISSES THE MARK A COUPLE OF TIMES, BUT IN THE MAIN ITS GOOD CLEAN FUN 3 stars
4/01/08 yamin 22 yrs old and i love this movie... but u gotta catch the satire 5 stars
8/04/07 Reza Maddahi magnificent and friutfull movie for all ages 4 stars
7/18/07 amateur madman completely halairious 5 stars
6/01/07 ES I liked it 4 stars
3/21/07 man I thought it was lame 2 stars
2/09/07 Soranos Average movie, I liked the 3D animation and characters though. 3 stars
2/08/07 Matt Works for kids and ttheir parents alike. Hammy the squirrel is a classic! 4 stars
1/09/07 David Cohen 7 minute short dragged out to 90, Shandling is particualrly miscast 3 stars
1/07/07 Quicksilver cute animals, good actors, but traditional Disney cheesiness smothers these good points. 3 stars
1/03/07 anthony david loved the show!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! thought it was HILARIOUS 5 stars
12/29/06 Jennifer Raven a total scream! too funny 5 stars
12/27/06 Jim Stephens It should hav been drawn instead of "rendered" - the characters border on ugly. 2 stars
12/13/06 Natalie i loved this so much... of course, hammy's my favourite character... 5 stars
12/04/06 Hammy101 I loved hammy- he was halerious! i loved it as much as i did with "Madagaskar" and "TheWild 5 stars
12/04/06 Dana Lundin I loved Hammy, it was hilarious 4 stars
11/27/06 sirina it was fun for little kids 2 stars
11/15/06 Mark much funnier than gifven credit for. several laugh-out-loud moments 4 stars
11/06/06 Senator Claghorn This from the guy who thought Cars was "awe inspiring?" 4 stars
11/01/06 Rjlover i loved it. someone who hated it, has no sense of humor. I wuv hammy and rj! 5 stars
11/01/06 matthew henry I'm in college and I still loved it. Scathing social critique combined with funny story 4 stars
10/23/06 antne Absolutely rocks, Dave Corneliuis is a sour puss,doesn't have a funny bone in his body. 5 stars
10/19/06 Charles Tatum Hilarious, the best animated film of 2006 5 stars
10/16/06 Senoa This was guite good, good voice acting. Hammy on caffeine must be seen to believe! 4 stars
9/07/06 Stephanie Throckmorton Despite caricaturing humans as monsters, one of the more entertaining films of the year. 4 stars
8/07/06 Del It was cute, but I actually was happy when it was finally over 3 stars
8/06/06 Erik Van Sant Surprisingly good. Funny, inventive, and a kick-ass Ben Folds soundtrack. Better than most. 4 stars
8/06/06 doesn't matter hated it, hated it, hated it 1 stars
7/15/06 rusty builds slowly but by the end I was laughing hard 4 stars
7/01/06 Gerry Irons Best Non-Pixar CGI Film Yet- Still Aims Low- Very entertaining but sadly simple trite story 3 stars
6/30/06 Dave Webber Great fun flick - totally loved Bruce Willisin this! 5 stars
6/19/06 ken thackrey its awsome 5 stars
6/18/06 Violet not funny 2 stars
6/17/06 nicolecrom2678 AWESOME FUNNY!! 5 stars
6/07/06 Quigley not so much funy as it was entertaining. Steve Carell was absolutely awesome as Hammy 4 stars
6/06/06 James Awesome animation & voice acting; anyone who says it sucks has their head up their ass 5 stars
6/05/06 Jon The Best Since Shreck 2 D00d 5 stars
5/28/06 your worst goddamn nightmare Such a funny little movie... I was so pleasantly surprised! 4 stars
5/23/06 Mase Kind of a patchwork of current animated family films. Carrel and Sykes shine brightly 4 stars
5/23/06 Melina Awesome movie! Thoughtful, funny and perfect for everybody! 5 stars
5/22/06 KingNeutron ROTFLMAO - this one is definitely worth the buy. 4 stars
5/22/06 Anin Azdnok I think this was the best movie ever! 5 stars
5/20/06 Pokejedservo Decent-at-best soundtrack mars an otherwise above above par film 4 stars
5/20/06 San Lamar funny film 5 stars
5/19/06 Staci My kids enjoyed it so it's good enough for me. 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  19-May-2006 (PG)
  DVD: 17-Oct-2006

UK
  30-Jun-2006

Australia
  22-Jun-2006




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