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The Nut Job (2014) good movie
Canada/South Korea/USA, 86 min, Rated PG (ON) G (QC)
Reviewed 01/14, © Stephen Bourne, moviequips.ca
www.ofrb.gov.on.ca | www.rcq.gouv.qc.ca

Peter Lepeniotis - Director
Lorne Cameron and Peter Lepeniotis - Screenplay
Ian Hastings - Art Direction


"'The Nut Job' is an action-packed comedy that follows Surly (voiced by Will Arnett), a mischievous squirrel, who must plan a heist to get into his town’s biggest nut shop in order to help his pals in the park gather food to survive the winter." - thenutjob.com


Banished to the hard-knock streets by the other Oakton city park animals after he mistakenly destroys their meager supply of winter food, selfish purple-furred outsider Surly Squirrel (voiced by Will Arnett) and his mute rat sidekick Buddy stumble into the middle of a bank heist being schemed up by a motley gang of humans staked out in an abandoned shop stocked with delicious peanuts and cashews ripe for the taking, in this fun comedic animated kids' caper of anthropomorphic animals from director/co-writer Peter Lepeniotis. The Nut Job also stars Katherine Heigl, as the voice of Andie, a strong-willed red squirrel sent with a small team of animals to forage for food beyond the safety of the park by their power-hungry leader, Raccoon (Liam Neeson).

Marking Toronto-based Toonbox Entertainment's second full-length CG animated feature, The Nut Job is based on Toonbox director Peter Lepeniotis' 2005 short film, Surly Squirrel, which won the audience-voted National Film Board of Canada Public Prize at the Ottawa International Animation Festival that same year. Lepeniotis' movie credits also include animation work on Toy Story 2 (1999), and Dinosaur (2000). His writing collaborator on The Nut Job, Lorne Cameron, previously co-scripted Brother Bear (2003), and Over the Hedge (2006). According to Toonbox's corporate website, The Nut Job is being developed into a 52-episode series of 11 minute shorts for television.

Watching the trailer, this looked like a chip off the DreamWorks blockbuster, Over the Hedge, but with squirrels entering the turf of humans to forage for winter food. However, that's pretty much where the similarities end. In a good way.

Without a doubt, The Nut job is a great-looking, undemanding animated movie for small kids and kids at heart. It's packed with loads of slap stick physical comedy as Surly's misadventures in greedily only foraging for himself carry a paying audience through this conscience-driven main storyline. He's a good-hearted squirrel, but ends up an outcast for putting his needs before those of the park community and not abiding by Raccoon's rules. Andie unintentionally finds Surly and the nut shop he's trying to raid while he and Buddy have been avoiding the rodent-hating bank robbers and their pet pug Precious (Maya Rudolph) inside, and the squirrels strike an uneasy alliance that splits their own planned heist fifty-fifty - until Raccoon hears about it. (Read more)

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