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Open Season 2
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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Open Season 2 is a 2008 animated comedy in which a deer questions his looming marriage and a dog that has lived out in the wild returns to the world of the tame. This is a funny, occasionally crude animated comedy that pits wild animals against domesticated pets in a race to save a conflicted dachshund. There are frequent moments of potty humor. Puns and double entendre with words like "nuts" and "rack" are abundant. Animals talk of needing "grown-up time," and one dog says to another, "Your doghouse or mine?" There are jokes revolving around a dog named "Mr. Weenie." A gas station attendant's rear end crack is exposed. There's a lot of cartoonish pratfall violence. Some of the character voices feel a lot like stereotyping by ethnicity, region, or lifestyle. The trappings of domestication -- leashes, treats, RVs -- are presented as entrapment, at least from the perspective of the "wilds." But it ultimately delivers a nice message about the devotion between pets and their owners. While it might be helpful to see the original before viewing this, it's not imperative -- kids will still be able to follow along with the action.
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What's the story?
In this straight-to-DVD sequel to Open Season, OPEN SEASON 2 leaves the anti-hunting rhetoric mostly behind and takes on pet ownership. Elliott the mule deer (now voiced by Joel McHale) is supposed to be marrying Giselle (Jane Krakowski) as the movie opens. But Elliott has an attack of cold feet, conveniently explained by the disappearance of Mr. Weenie the dachshund -- a former pet who has embraced life in the "wild" only to be lured back by his well-meaning owners en route to the Pet Paradiso RV resort. Elliott, Giselle, and a motley crew of forest animals take off in pursuit of Mr. Weenie, but they don't anticipate the venom with which the dogs and cats of the RV park will fight the encroachment of the wild on their now-natural habitat.
Is it any good?
This sequel loses something of the star wattage of the voice performers in the original, but with Krakowski and Billy Connolly returning to their roles, it still entertains and amuses. In part, the entertainment value comes from the richly imagined characters, from a perpetually angry Scottish squirrel to a psychopathic French poodle named Fifi (Crispin Glover, who else?). The depiction of crazily devoted pet owners -- and the subtle way in which they have come to look like their pets -- is also effective.
But in the end, this is a buddy film, with Elliott realizing that to survive, he'll need the help of his friends -- and that includes his fiancé. What Giselle sees in Elliott is mystifying, between his hysteric tendencies and his unwillingness to commit, but since this is a movie aimed at kids, we'll give it a pass. It's a fine family entertainment choice that may have children rethinking their assumptions about the family pet.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Mr. Weenie's dilemma. If you have pets, do you think they ever wish they were free? What would be the pluses and minuses of being free for an animal used to living inside? What do you think wild animals might envy about domesticated life?
Was the violence necessary to the story, or did it seem like it was used to add to the comedy or be entertaining for its own sake?
Do the mannerisms and accents of the different characters seem stereotypical to you, or are they a humorous reflection and parody of such mannerisms and accents?
- In theaters: January 27, 2009
- On DVD or streaming: January 27, 2009
- Cast: Jane Krakowski, Joel McHale, Mike Epps
- Director: Matthew O'Callaghan
- Studio: Sony Pictures Animation
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Wild Animals
- Character Strengths: Teamwork
- Run time: 86 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: For mild rude humor
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