The Nut Job

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
The Nut Job Movie Poster Image
Disappointing animal comedy features insults, fart jokes.
  • PG
  • 2014
  • 85 minutes

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 14 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 34 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Kids may learn which park animals must store nuts to survive, but otherwise the movie is intended for entertainment, rather than education.

Positive Messages

The movie's overwhelming message 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 & Representations

Andie is smart, loyal, kind, and brave. She isn't afraid to get into dangerous situations to help her fellow park dwellers. She's 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, like when a dog pops up right in front of Surly or a scary rat gang attacks Surly and then appears about to kill Buddy. The humans 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. But 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, too, and they share a couple of hugs. There's a human couple as well, including buxom blonde Lana, who hugs and briefly kisses King.


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).


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

What 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 viewers. Human characters use guns, and there are several scenes in which it seems like a character will die or be killed. 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's a positive message about what it means to be part of a community.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byMovieTracker3 February 12, 2014

This movie is "Nut" funny

There is a poor plot, terrible jokes, and too much death. There is a scene where the squirrel smokes a cigarette and the jokes are sexist. Don't waste your... Continue reading
Adult Written bysutata May 12, 2021

Heavy Propaganda

I couldn't watch past 10 minutes of this. Characters are all unlikable too.
As much as 10 minutes isn't enough to totally write a review I just wanted... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byregularreviewer February 23, 2021

The "Nut Job" is great!

The Nut Job is a very great movie that teaches you to be cooperative with others, otherwise you wouldn't get anything back. Surly, the squirrel that learns... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byyellowblossomflower February 8, 2014


I thought this would be as good as "Over the Hedge". Boy, was I wrong. The animation was honestly the only thing good about the movie. Believe me, you... Continue reading

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?

Parents, be aware this is far from a sophisticated animated comedy. 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.

Talk to your kids about ...

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

  • What is the 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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animal movies

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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