Over the Hedge

 
Cute animated tale with some mild scares, cartoon violence.
  • Review Date: October 16, 2006
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 96 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Characters lie and steal, but learn to appreciate self-declared/non-blood families.

Violence & scariness

Cartoon violence (characters smashed, flattened, blown up, and crushed); bear threatens to "hunt down and kill" raccoon; human exterminator arrives on scene with traps, poison, explosives; from raccoon's POV, suburban backyard is filled with dangerous items (bug zapper, falling birdbath, sprinklers, knives); woman chases animals with broom; squirrel pretends to be rabid to scare Girl Scout; dog chases raccoon through several yards and over decks, crashing through fences; little girl possum kicked down stairs, appears to be dead.

Sexy stuff

Mild references to female skunk's "appeal," as she's sent to distract a guardian cat.

Language

Very mild, occasional language ("shoot!", "butt," "dang"); the turtle calls others "stupid," "naive," and "ignorant."

Consumerism

Dr. Phil on TV; various commercial food products renamed (potato chips in a can, corn chips and cheese curls in bags, candies, etc.).

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Sugar acts like a drug for Hammy.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this animated movie includes a fair amount of cartoon violence. Characters are crushed, blown up, flattened, banged, burned, and bounced -- all in good, Chuck-Jones-influenced fun. Animal protagonists steal food from each other and from unsympathetic humans. When a raccoon steals a bear's winter stash of food, the bear threatens retaliation and the raccoon fools other "foragers" into stealing food from humans to repay the bear and save himself. A human exterminator brings traps and brutal gizmos (his truck is adorned by a man slamming a bunny with a hammer). This exterminator suffers physical abuses (zapped by his own traps). Younger kids will laugh at the obvious stuff and won't get the edgier humor aimed at older audiences, so this is one that several age groups can enjoy together.

What's the story?

This animated animal adventure gets rolling when RJ the raccoon (voiced by Bruce Willis) steals a little red wagon full of treats from a hibernating bear, Vincent (Nick Nolte). Awakened and annoyed, the bear threatens to kill RJ unless he replaces all the missing items (they're smooshed in a traffic accident). RJ hatches a plan to steal convenience foods from recently installed suburban dwellers. While Hammy the squirrel (Steve Carell), shy skunk Stella (Wanda Sykes), and Ozzie, a possum (William Shatner), are easily won over by RJ's scheme, timid tortoise Verne (Garry Shandling) frets that RJ is not to be trusted. But the raccoon is shrewd, and the scenario he lays out -- all food, all the time -- is mighty tempting. So it's not long before everyone scampering into the well-appointed abode of Homeowners' Association President Gladys (Allison Janney). In this new world, "the grass is greener," and the acorn-munching kids discover the great tastes they've been missing: cheese dust, pizza, donuts, and Girl Scout cookies. The animals are not prepared for the humans' ferocious desire to protect their stuff, however, and soon the dastardly exterminator (Thomas Haden Church) arrives, armed with traps and weapons.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Cute and zippy, OVER THE HEDGE offers animal shenanigans, an amusing social critique, songs by Ben Folds, and cartoony explosions galore. It's good fun for everyone!

 

 

Plainly inspired by the brilliant Chuck Jones, the movie gets in easy digs at the burbs, a nifty homage to Pepe Le Pew (via Stella's faux-seduction of a Persian "guard cat" [Omid Djalili]), and yet another chance for Willis to make good fun of himself.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the film's satire of life in the suburbs. They could also talk about the lesson RJ and his friends learn: that supporting each other as a family is more important than their individual desires. They could also use the film and its soundtrack to talk to kids about the greater impact of our actions.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 19, 2006
DVD release date:October 17, 2006
Cast:Bruce Willis, Garry Shandling, William Shatner
Directors:Karey Kirkpatrick, Tim Johnson
Studio:DreamWorks
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Wild animals
Run time:96 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:for some rude humor and mild comic action.

This review of Over the Hedge was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Written byAnonymous December 23, 2014
age 5+
 

Mild behavior in cute but scary animated movie

My rating:PG for rude humor and mild action
Adult Written bykaetra December 28, 2009
age 5+
 
This is a DVD we own and watch over and over. It's very entertaining for the grown-ups as well as the kids. Some scary parts, lots of cartoon violence. Lots of laughs, clever storyline. We especially like all the suburban stereotype fun-poking.
Parent of a 3 year old Written bytiaceleste March 6, 2011
age 5+
 

Not Good for Short Attention Spans

This movie was super boring for my 3.5 year old. It did not hold his attention at all and he loves animal movies. He kept asking me why the animals were stealing and making a mess and why they were eating people food. It was not a good pick! Glad I only got it from the library for free...
Teen, 16 years old Written byJoseph Brian January 23, 2013
age 7+
 

Watch this before you let your kids see it

Of all the family-oriented films I've ever seen, this one is only LOOSELY family-oriented. Why? Because the film has an abundance of rude humor and bad behavior, including Verne losing his shell and his butt is revealed, Hammy asking if anyone can "find his nuts", stealing, the list goes on... The film's attempts to get emotional and serious really fail because we are already proven that these characters have little to no backstory to the point where we don't care how emotional RJ gets, and it is hard to weep at a movie's emotional scenes when it has nude butt and private part jokes. Plus, the film uses a sexist stereotype of women with the villain being an obsessed homeowner who is a clean freak that despises little animals and overreacts to everything that frightens her. DreamWorks, you really hate women, don't you? I know it's your responsibility as a parent to make sure your kids don't repeat what they see, but if you're not careful, it could happen. Especially with this waste of DVD.

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