A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What 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?
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.
Talk to your kids 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.
- In theaters: May 19, 2006
- On DVD or streaming: 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.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.