The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature
2017, PG, 91 min. Directed by Cal Brunker. Voices by Will Arnett, Katherine Heigl, Maya Rudolph, Jackie Chan, Peter Stormare, Bobby Cannavale, Bobby Moynihan.
REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., Aug. 11, 2017
You could, if you chose, scan this sequel to 2014’s The Nut Job as a genuinely subversive attack on capitalism that also doubles as much-less-animated-than-Al Gore polemic vis-à-vis humanity’s omnivorous anti-environmental impulses toward the natural world. But why bother when there’s a purple squirrel named Surly (Arnett), his gal pal Andie (Heigl), and a horde of Shaolin mice led by the ferocious – don’t call him “cute,” whatever you do – Mr. Feng (Chan) teaming up to fight off the greedy mayor (Moynihan) who’s planning to turn their beautiful park into a shoddy, for-profit amusement park? The lesson here is cooperation, not competition, and while this Korean/American/Canadian co-production is just right for the peanut gallery, moms and dads should get a (slight) kick out of it as well.
Longtime animated rodent fans will notice a striking similarity between top squirrel Surly and his goofy rat friend Buddy and Warner Bros.’ classic Pinky and the Brain, but this tale of various woodland and city-dwelling critters banding together to fend off a common enemy is far better suited to its intended preadolescent audiences that P&B’s highbrow riffing on The Third Man, aka The Third Mouse. Instead, The Nut Job 2 is colorful, kid-friendly, and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny. ’Nuff said.