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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
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Erik Childress

"Even Animated - Steve Carell Still The Funniest In The Room"
4 stars

Dreamworks Animation had a big creative setback last year with Madagascar. No one was crying foul about its box office returns, not quite Shrek numbers, but still a more than respectable summer total. But the movie stunk. Easily one of the worst animated ventures in the A.P. (After Pixar) era; a list which also includes their previous foray, Shark Tale, which was an example of how celebrity-driven voicework has been artistically damaging the animation world instead of boosting it. Their first 2006 entry, Over the Hedge, comes equipped with the same above-the-title talent but also with a fun story and some of the best visual work their employees have done to date.

R.J. the raccoon (voiced by Bruce Willis) is a greedy little bugger, raiding the hibernation dwellings of Vincent the Bear (Nick Nolte) but can’t resist ignoring the bird-in-the-hand mentality. The stash in his trusty wagon is highway-bound and an angry Vincent gives R.J. until the next full moon to return his full supply. Desperate to save his hide, the rascally raccoon comes across cautious turtle, Verne (Garry Shandling) and his self-made family of winter preparers including hyperactive Hammy the squirrel (Steve Carell), sprayin’ Stella the skunk (Wanda Sykes), possum father & daughter, Ozzie and Heather (William Shatner & Avril Lavigne) and husband/wife porcupines, Lew & Penny (Eugene Levy & Catherine O’Hara) who have just discovered a giant hedge separating their forest from the suburbs.

On the other side is paradise to these scavenging horders, enough to cover them for winters at a time. The film’s best bit is R.J.’s explanation of the human’s obsession with food and the chain of events which keep them in glorious gluttony. Verne would rather stick with the various nuts and scraps then have his makeshift family endanger themselves over unnaturally processed sweets and chips while R.J. selfishly gets them to want more than their assembly line of an existence. Further hampering their efforts are a nasty careerwoman (Allison Janney) obsessed with her property value and the “Verminator” she hires, invaluably voiced by Thomas Haden Church who holds the perfect octave to make him the king of pathetic pomposity.

Unlike Dreamworks' last two star-driven animated galas, the voicework is tuned to the personality of its characters and not its actors, although Shatner has some fun playing off his delayed, hammy delivery. Willis does fine work as R.J. and Shandling is the kind of judiciously nebbish foil that makes you almost root for R.J.’s personal agenda. We’ve already had one overly caffeinated squirrel this year in Hoodwinked, but not one who could steal the show as Steve Carell only can. All of the best set pieces, especially one involving a rabid role play, somehow involve Carell’s hyperactive Hammy. If only one more scene highlighting him had replaced one of the extraneous action scenes, which become more repetitive than inspired and begin to resemble something more out of a Beethoven (the dog) movie than the carefully orchestrated sequences from Pixar.

We can scream Pixar all we want, but they aren’t the only game in town raising the bar for animated features. With rendering technology increasing as fast as you can write the words “with rendering technology increasing”, animation is hitting theaters at a faster pace than ever before and some are getting through quality control in both the literal and visual departments. Over the Hedge is one of the good ones though, if not a full-blown classic. Image-wise, its animators have really brightened things up arguably outdoing even the Shrek films for visual astuteness, making this the closest any studio has gotten to Pixar’s dominating perfection. And don’t be surprised if this becomes the summer’s preferred animated excursion even with the likes of Cars just around the corner.

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originally posted: 05/19/06 14:01:54
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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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