The Nut Job

The Nut Job

2014, PG, 86 min. Directed by Peter Lepeniotis. Voices by Will Arnett, Katherine Heigl, Liam Neeson, Brendan Fraser, Stephen Lang, Maya Rudolph, Jeff Dunham, Gabriel Iglesias, Sarah Gadon.

REVIEWED By Kimberley Jones, Fri., Jan. 17, 2014

The Nut Job is a head-scratcher. Kudos, I guess, go to the writers (Lorne Cameron and Peter Lepeniotis, who also directs) for curveballing your basic talking-animal cartoon with a parallel plot about Fifties gangsters, but their goon patois makes little sense when set next to the more-or-less modern argot of the small rodents that top-bill this Canadian/South Korean co-production. How “Gangnam Style” fits into all of this is a mystery, but that doesn’t stop the filmmakers from trotting out that stale K-pop ear-bleeder twice in a move as pandering as the film’s multiple fart gags.

Will Arnett voices Surly Squirrel, a loner and iconoclast disinclined to join the collectivist community of squirrels, rats, moles, and other furred foragers that share the same park. But when the food supply runs low, he agrees to lead a heist on a nearby nut shop, which itself is the front for some hooligans planning a bank job of their own. There’s no shortage of bad guys here – everybody’s a rat, so to speak, from the human heavies and Neeson’s raccoon demagogue on down to a menacing gang of actual rats – and none of the good guys are all that interesting, either in concept or execution (the voicework is mostly shrugging and – in the case of Arnett – aggressively uningratiating). But the richly hued CG animation is quite nice – a mix of hyperdetailed character work and painterly cityscapes and pastorals – and the script putters along with small but regular amusements.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Films
Bad Newz
A pregnant woman tries to determine which of her two suitors is the father

July 19, 2024

Widow Clicquot
Biopic details the true story behind the "Grande Dame of Champagne"

July 19, 2024

More by Kimberley Jones
A Comic Con, Drag Birthday, and More Recommended Events
A Comic Con, Drag Birthday, and More Recommended Events
Party hard this weekend

July 19, 2024

The Michelin Guide Rolls Into Texas
The Michelin Guide Rolls Into Texas
Storied restaurant guide to bestow state stars in the fall

July 16, 2024

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

The Nut Job, Peter Lepeniotis

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle