Over The Hedge
One of the big surprises of 2006 was the success of Over The Hedge, one of the seemingly endless stream of computer generated animated pictures that came out last year. However, unlike a great deal of the junk that showed up from studios trying to imitate Pixar, Over The Hedge was actually a great deal of fun, laugh-out-loud funny at times, and it made for a brisk 90 minutes of entertainment for the whole family.
RJ the raccoon (Bruce Willis) wants nothing more than to make off with a stash of food gathered by Vincent the bear. Instead, he ends up losing the food and waking up Vincent, who tells him he has to get back all of the food in six days or he'll end up on the plate himself.
Meanwhile, spring has sprung, and out of a log comes Verne the turtle (Gary Shandling), who constantly has to remind everyone he's a reptile, not an amphibian. In the log are all of his animal friends: Hammy the squirrel (Steve Carell of The Office); Ozzie and Heather, a father-daughter pair of possums; Stella, a wise-talking skunk; and a pair of porcupines and their very contemporary offspring.
Verne immediately reminds everyone there's only 273 days until winter, so itís time to start collecting food now. However, Hammy soon finds there's been changes since the hibernation began, most notably the fact that their forest has been taken over by the suburbs, and there's a huge hedge (which they call "Steve") out there which holds all sorts of unknown dangers for the animal friends.
Not unknown to RJ though, who rapidly convinces them that the riches that lie beyond the hedge are just what they need to get them through a long, cold winter without having to resort to eating bark. Of course, RJ has an ulterior motive; he's going to use the woodland animals to steal the food for him so he can then take it to Vincent.
Verne, however, is suspicious of RJ and not just a little jealous when it seems that his extended family is coming to rely on RJ more than him. His senses are right on target though, when the head of the local neighborhood association calls in "The Verminator" (Thomas Hayden Church), to get rid of the woodland menace once and for all.
It's a non-stop romp after that, with the animals having to deal with RJ, the Verminator, an angry bear, and an amorous Persian cat that falls for Stella after she vamps up like a cat to steal his collar, which has a device which can open up the cat door to let the animals in. There are some great sight gags, spoofing Mission Impossible, The Matrix, and a bunch of other movies, as well as a number of in-jokes and of course, cute animals and songs for the kids.
Not only that, it delivers a humorous look at consumerism that would probably go over the heads of the younger audience, but is not going to be lost on the adults. But whatever age you are, you'll be sure to enjoy Over The Hedge. It has enough for adults to enjoy, while at the same time it's short enough and funny enough to ensure your kids will enjoy it and you won't go nuts watching it. Over The Hedge is available on Amazon through this link: