The Nut Job

  • Review Date: January 17, 2014
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 85 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Disappointing animal comedy features insults, fart jokes.
  • Review Date: January 17, 2014
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 85 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids may learn which park animals must store nuts to survive, but otherwise this is an entertainment title not an educational one.

Positive messages

The overwhelming message of the movie is to learn to be part of a community -- where helping others and being helped in return is part of life. Surly's adventure makes him realize why he needs the animals in the park, and they discover that he's much more than the selfish squirrel they pegged him as at the beginning of the movie.

Positive role models

Andie is smart, loyal, kind, and brave. She isn't afraid to get into dangerous situations to help her fellow park dwellers. She is committed to justice and fairness. Surly's story is one of redemption and learning to be part of a community. Buddy is a faithful and unconditional friend to Surly, even when no one else is willing to stand by him.

Violence & scariness

A few jump-worthy moments may frighten little ones, like when the dog pops up right in front of Surly or the scary rat gang attacks Surly and then appear about to kill Buddy. The humans in the movie are old-school gangsters who use guns to shoot at each other and the animals. Cars blow up and go over bridges; an important park tree burns down. A cardinal starts to peck at characters and acts in an evil manner. Even when it seems like characters meet their end, audiences later see they've survived (albeit hurt). Some characters act nobly, but are secretly mean and violent.

Sexy stuff

Grayson keeps flirting with Andie and insisting she go on a date with him. He touches and dips her, but she's not interested. Surly develops a crush on Andie as well and they share a couple of hugs. There's a human couple as well -- the buxom blonde Lana, who hugs and briefly kisses King.

Language

Insult language includes "stupid," "nothing," "moron," "lousy," "bums," "no-good," "vermin," "ugly," and of course "nut job." There's also a good bit of scatological humor (burp and fart jokes).

Consumerism

Peanut Butter & Co. peanut butter has prominent signage in the front of the nut store. The company hosted a tie-in sweepstakes.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although The Nut Job is being marketed to preschool-aged kids, there are some jump-worthy moments and some gun violence that might make it too scary for the youngest of viewers: the humans use guns and there are several scenes in which it seems like a character will die or be killed. The language includes insults like "moron," "nothing," and "stupid"; parents sensitive to scatological humor should know there are several burp and fart jokes. On the bright side, there is a positive message about what it means to be part of a community.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

THE NUT JOB is an animated comedy following the animal inhabitants of a city park. When loner squirrel Surly (Will Arnett) selfishly foils the other animals' plan to swipe some nuts from a nut cart, Raccoon (Liam Neeson), the park leader, banishes him to the city. Exiled from the park, Surly and his best pal, a rat named Buddy, endure a frightening day in the city when they land right in front of a nut shop. Unbeknownst to Surly and Buddy, the owner of the nut shop is a recently released gangster King (Stephen Lang), and his crew of goons are planning to rob the bank across the street by digging a tunnel between the buildings. Meanwhile, Surly and a team from the park, led by determined female squirrel Andie (Katherine Heigl), plan their own heist -- of the nuts in the shop.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Remember the old candy bar slogan, "Sometimes you feel like a nut? Sometimes you don't?" -- well let's just say you probably won't feel like this particular Nut, but if you take your kids, the very youngest will probably dig the silliness. That is because most kids of a particular single-digit age will like any thing that makes them laugh and has gross-out jokes about burping and flatulence. The Nut Job offers those sorts of lowbrow scatological amusements in addition to the whole "talking animal" novelty that never seems to wear off for kids. But as for an animated movie that will appeal to older kids and parents, this isn't it.

First off, it's never quite clear when the movie is set. The human characters talk and look bit like they're in a '30s or '40s black-and-white gangster film, but the cars -- particularly the occasional checkered cab -- are more identifiably from the '50s, and the music includes electronic dance music like the 2012 South Korean dance hit, Gangnam Style. In addition to the decade confusion, the pacing is often way off, with strange editing hiccups that lead to an uneven viewing experience. And let's not even get started on the build up of both human and animal heists (the title refers to both) that never really leads anywhere. Some kids may not care about any of these flaws, because, of course, there are still animal farts and punny nut jokes involved. But parents, be aware this is far from a sophisticated animated comedy.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the ongoing fascination with talking animals. Why do you think so many movies have animal main characters? What are some of your favorite animal movies?

  • What is this movie's message about friendship and community? What does it mean to be part of a community that looks out for one another?

  • Discuss the violence. Is the violence less scary, because the movie is animated and not live action? 

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 17, 2014
DVD release date:April 15, 2014
Cast:Brendan Fraser, Katherine Heigl, Will Arnett
Director:Peter Lepeniotis
Studio:Open Road Films
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Friendship
Run time:85 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:mild action and rude humor

This review of The Nut Job was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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  • 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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Teen, 15 years old Written byironkid21 January 17, 2014
AGE
5
QUALITY
 

Mostly unfunny and boring animated comedy is just downright nuts...

Last year, the first animated film released was "Escape From Planet Earth". It wasn't bad, wasn't great either. It was just okay and had its moments. This year, our first animated film released is this film The Nut Job, which starts off fun but soon becomes a mostly annoying and unfunny comedy. This is coming from someone who loves most talking animal kids comedies, even ones that aren't reviewed well by most, and I was really looking forward to this movie! The film does start off fun and quite funny with Will Arnett's character and a pack of other squirrels competing to get the nuts for hibernation and a cool chase which makes a snack bar move (long story)! But literally when it gets to the point where Will Arnett's character finally discovers the nut store, that's where it goes downhill. The Nut Job, what could've been a really fun comedy, is turned into a really dull collection of endless poorly done burp and fart jokes and physical humor that isn't that funny, with a couple of funny and/or interesting jokes or things that happen. Honestly, I knew that they were trying to find the nuts and all but halfway through the movie, I forgot what was going on and it just felt like everybody was running around doing random, annoying things. If there are any highlights about this film, it does have a few funny and cool moments (including a random yet really fun "Gangnam Style" dance during the end credits), and the only three characters I generally liked were Scurly's best friend, Maya Rudolph as the dog and Katherine Heigl's character (there's something about Katherine Heigl's voice that I just love...I don't know what it is). Even some of my favorite actors including Will Arnett and Liam Neeson are just downright wasted. Based on a B Roll for this film that I watched on YouTube, the cast seemed to have a fun time working on the movie! It's just a shame that the final product is not very good. I guess this is how we start 2014. Hopefully there will be better animated films this year...
Adult Written bydontwanttochange January 17, 2014
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

My review of Nut job

I think that Nut job is ok for a certain age group.There is some violence throughout the movie but it is still a great movie. Nut job might be frightening to little kids because at times some characters fall or hurt themselves and it looks like they might be dead. But they are not. It is a fun movie for kids who can handle it.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Kid, 10 years old January 18, 2014
AGE
5
QUALITY
 

Not bad... for a movie that looks like a rip-off of "Over The Hedge"

This movie- of all means- definitely did have a pretty basic humor style. The Nut Job would- for sure- appeal to very young kids, and even if this movie is a little nuts, It's not as nuts as it was thought to be. there are a lot of fart jokes, and the humor is a little bland, but once the credits started rolling, the cast did the "Gangnam Style" dance, along with Psy(That was the best part of the whole movie). There's better choices out there, but if you have a pre-schooler, it would not be a bad idea to see this one.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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