Hop

28 Apr

Title: Hop
Year:
2011
Director:
Tim Hill
Writers: Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio and Brian Lynch, based on a story by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio
Starring:
James Marsden, Russell Brand, Kaley Cuoco, Hank Azaria, Gary Cole, Elizabeth Perkins, Hugh Laurie, Chelsea Handler
MPAA Rating:
PG, some mild rude humor
Runtime:
95 min
Major Awards:

IMDb Rating:
5.1
Rotten Tomatoes:
24%

I liked the little bunnies in Hop. How they were done, I mean. I thought the animation behind them was pretty cool and they looked quite nifty, which is logical once you learn they were designed by the same guy that did the characters in Finding Nemo and many other great films. But I didn’t like them in any other way, I mean, they were okay but they weren’t really all that charming because the script didn’t provide as many “aww” moments as it could have nor much of anything else really. And the human performers in this film fare just the same way, they all give it their all, just look at James Marsden out there being game for any number of silly situations, but in the end the material they have to work with it too uninspired for them to do all that much with it.

Now, I didn’t hate Hop, but it was kind of like director Tim Hill’s other effort at merging animated little furry animals with live-action humans, Alvin and the Chipmunks, the sort of film that you won’t hate because it’s harmless and it’s only trying to have a good time, but also the sort of film you really won’t recommend to people. By the way, Russell Brand is the guy voicing our main little Bunny, who’s called E.B. and who’s the heir to the title of Easter Bunny currently owned by his father, who’s voiced by Hugh Laurie, who’s ready to give the reigns of the empire to his son. The problem is that E.B. doesn’t really want all that responsibility, and would much rather just spend his time playing the drums.

And the premise is actually all right really, I mean, we get E.B. leaving bunny-land in hopes of becoming a great drummer in Hollywood, but he nearly becomes roadkill as a car comes close to crashing into him and so the unexpected friendship between him and the car’s owner, which would be Mr. Marsden’s character, then becomes the plot of the film. And even though, like I said, Mr. Marsden is totally game for anything this film requires of him to do, it all feels flat and bored for some reason. Same goes for Mr. Brand as the voice of E.B., you’d think someone with his personna would be great fun as the voice of a rebel little rocker Bunny, but here he only shines in a few moments, and much less than I initially thought he would.

So if you’ve been amongst those lamenting the lack of a film about and/or starring the Easter Bunny, here’s what you get, an uninspired CGI/Live-action mash-up that feels tacky at parts and just plain boring the rest of the time. The bunnies were really well done, like I said, and I do think that’s something to compliment because considering the quality of the rest of the film I wouldn’t have been shocked if the bunnies themselves looked horrible, but you can tell the people behind the animation of them really carefully went into making them, and they look really charming and sweet, even though they aren’t given all that many real charming or sweet scenes.

We get a lot of silly situations between E.B. and Fred, Mr. Marsden’s character, which comes from both of them being total slackers. E.B. not wanting to follow his father’s command to become the new Easter Bunny and Fred pressured by his parents to get a real job. Said situations include encounters with David Hasselhoff as a judge of a talent show (and we know the Hoff is awesome at making fun of himself) and a horrible job interview with a woman played by Chelsea Handler, who I usually love.

Hop may be better than Alvin and the Chipmunks, but that’s not saying much. This one is, at the end of it all, an Easter rip-off of The Santa Clause, and that’s also not saying much. So, you see, this one really never seemed as thought it would be any thing like a roaring success, Mr. Brand gives a couple of good moments because he can sound cheeky and naughty and make it fun, but that’s just about it. There’s a subplot about the going-ons at the Easter island about a group of chickens, who have its leader voiced by Hank Azaria, trying to stage a coup against the bunnies to take over Easter, which does have a couple of funny sight gags, but nothing worth noting.

You see me being tepid about Hop because I didn’t like it, but I didn’t dislike it either, and I know what to expect about these films that mesh up digitally rendered animals with live-action stuff so it’s not as though I left Hop feeling disappointed. I knew this one wasn’t meant to be good, but I wanted it to be better if only because a few cool people are in it, but I guess I wasn’t the target audience and maybe kids will actually love the bunnies and the situations presented in Hop. But maybe they’ll just leave the theater not wanting to eat another jelly bean in their lives, because if there’s one thing we learn in Hop is that those are actually easter bunny poo.

Grade: C+

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