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Overall Rating

Awesome: 20%
Worth A Look47.78%
Average: 20%
Pretty Bad: 11.11%
Total Crap: 1.11%

7 reviews, 48 user ratings

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Over the Hedge
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by Matt Seaver

"Carell: 'Yeah, I guess my kids ought to be able to watch dad in SOMETHING.'"
4 stars

“Over the Hedge” is a completely inoffensive animated film. It is a good dose of family fare, and great for kids. At that point, does it really matter if you’re not laughing like you laughed at “Toy Story” or “Shrek”?

To me, it was pretty clear from the outset what kind of audience Over the Hedge was looking to grab, and that audience was not me or my girlfriend. But that’s OK. I can still appreciate a cute, sweet kids movie with basic gags. And that’s not to say that there weren’t some clever moments in the film. Dreamworks simply wasn’t shooting for the double-entendres in this film like most animated films feel a need to include.

The first lovable little rascal we meet is RJ (Bruce Willis), a raccoon who has worked up a sizeable debt to a big menacing bear (Nick Nolte). If RJ can’t fill Vincent’s cave back up with food in time, RJ will become the food. Nearly hopeless, RJ stumbles on a hodgepodge family of forest creatures living in an isolated oasis in the middle of suburbia. Led by Verne the turtle (Garry Shandling), they spend every day collecting food so they can survive the winter. This winter, though, they wake up to a new addition – a giant hedge severely restricting the border of their once-huge forest, since the suburb has expanded into their territory. RJ sees their naivety as an opportunity, and embeds himself into the group with the ruse that he will lead them through suburbia to collect all the food they need, all the while planning to grab the food once they’ve gathered it and pay off his debt. But once he gets to know the crazy bunch, will he really be able to screw them over like that?

Yep. It’s predictable. But the ride to get there is fun, and filled with a few really great moments. Not surprisingly, based on the trailer and the voice cast, many of those moments come from Hammy the Squirrel (Steve Carell). Hyper as hell and dumb as a brick, Hammy is very endearing because of his happy dimwittedness. He takes to RJ immediately, and is really the emotional leader of the film – the look in his eyes when he learns of RJ’s betrayal is heartbreaking, something very impressive to do in an animated film. He also has some of the funniest moments in the film – between rabid squirrel and the outcome of feeding an already-hyper animal (who weights under a pound, no less) an entire energy drink, Hammy definitely got the most chuckles out of me.

The entire cast is very solid. For the forest creatures, Shandling and Carell are joined by William Shatner and Avril Lavigne as possums, Wanda Sykes as a sassy skunk, and Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara as porcupine parents. Thomas Hayden “Lowell” Church plays the main villain, an exterminator determined to eliminate the pests, and he provides some good laughs while the animators give him some good sight gags. All of the voices are competent and definitely there, though once you get beyond Shandling, Willis and Carell, very few are given much in the way to do. Shatner has a moment or two, but the rest are decidedly background characters.

The music is also good… I’m a big Ben Folds fan, and I really like some of his new stuff from the film… the jury is still out on the new version of “Rockin’ the Suburbs,” though. While recording with Shatner is always cool, I’m definitely not sold on the lyrics.

The downside to this film is that I’ve been having a really hard time remembering plot points or character names. Granted, I am a month removed from watching it, but that was the case two days after I saw it when I first tried to write the review. Again, I attribute this to simply not being anywhere near their target demographic, and it doesn’t really lose points for it.

I think a better indication of the success of “Over the Hedge” was the unknown 6-year-old girl sitting next to me in the packed theater. She was transfixed for the full 80 minutes, giggling the whole way through, and nearly in tears when RJ was revealed. If this film can hold her attention for that long, and provoke a solid reaction from someone that young, then I have nothing to complain about. She is, after all, the reason this film exists. So enjoy, kiddies.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 06/17/06 00:14:20
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Tribeca Film Festival For more in the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

3/25/18 morris campbell entertaing i liked it 4 stars
5/29/09 ahh amazing 5 stars
1/10/09 Anonymous. adorable and funny :] 4 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
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  19-May-2006 (PG)
  DVD: 17-Oct-2006



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