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Over The Hedge

Cast: Bruce Willis, Nick Nolte, Garry Shandling, William Shatner, Avril Lavigne, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Steve Carell, Wanda Sykes, Allison Janney, Thomas Haden Church

Rated: PG for mild comic action and some rude humor

Runtime: 83 minutes

Trouble. That’s the best word to describe what RJ the Raccoon (voice of Willis) is in after he tries to steal a stash of food from the hibernating bear, Vincent (voice of Nolte). When the food is destroyed in the robbery attempt, an angry Vincent gives RJ one week to replace everything or else he becomes the main course for dinner.

Lucky for RJ he comes across a small family of animals who are just waking from their winter’s nap. We meet the serious minded Verne the Turtle (voice of Shandling) who is the leader of the group, the hyperactive Hammy the Squirrel (voice of Carrell), the father and daughter possum duo Ozzie and Heather (voices of Shatner and Lavigne), the boisterous Stella the Skunk (voice of Sykes) and the porcupine family headed by Lou and Penny (voices of Levy and O’Hara) and including their three children.

Verne’s mission is to begin foraging and collecting food right away for winter which is over 200 days away. But the gang is surprised by the addition of something new to their world. They discover a massive hedge which separates their world from suburbia. The baffled group nicknames the hedge Steve!

RJ immediately sees an opportunity to trick the animals into helping him collect the food that he needs to appease Vincent. He introduces them to suburbia as well as foods such as chips, cookies and soda! All of the animals are impressed except for Verne who is skeptical because of his tingling tail which suggests that all is not well. However, the animals ignore Verne’s warning and the race is on to grab as much of the human’s food as possible.

The gang’s food collecting soon hits a snag when the shrill Gladys (voice of Janney), who happens to be the president of the local homeowner’s association, is determined to put an end to the onslaught of wild animals in the neighborhood. Soon Dwayne a.k.a. the Verminator (voice of Church) is on the scene and nothing in his path is safe. Will the animals and suburbia be able to coexist? Will RJ be able to replace the food that he owes Vincent? You’ll have to watch “Over the Hedge” to find out.

I thought “Over the Hedge” was a cute family film that adults and children will enjoy. The idea of animals stealing food in suburbia was unique and at only 83 minutes, the film is fast paced and leaves little downtime.

Although the story is animated there is still plenty of action which probably explains the PG rating that it received. One of my favorite scenes had to be RJ and Hammy trying to steal boxes of cookies from two young girls with Hammy pretending to be rabid. Another one would have to be the “slow mo” action sequence of Hammy after he finally got to drink soda.

While it was fun to see the whole movie unfold, the only complaint that I have is that, for adults, it’s a predictable film. It’s easy to guess some of the things that will happen next. But, still, it’s fun to see how everything unfolds.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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