Thursday, April 7, 2011

Mom's Movie Reviews: "Hop" is mostly tolerable for adults.

After the kind of heavy post I had yesterday, I wanted to write something light-hearted today.  And that's why I decided to make a list of all the cast, gags, and cameos that helped me sit through "Hop" last Friday.

Spoiler Alert:  Once you read this list, you'll have heard every good thing about the movie.

Russell Brand as E.B. (Easter Bunny, Jr.).  They starred this guy in a kids' movie.  (Okay, it was only voice acting, but still.)  I find Russell Brand hilarious in everything that's not "Hop".  To make it through the lame kiddy jokes he had to use for the movie, I mentally inserted jokes from his stand-up and "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" to try to keep myself amused.  (Also, because the idea of an Easter Bunny that curses that much is funny to me.)

There was also a bit cameo where his human self interacted with his animated rabbit self.

David Hasselhoff as "The Hoff".  E.B. wants to be a drummer and ends up on the Hoff's talent-scouting show.  When the Hoff is asked why he isn't shocked by a talking rabbit, he responds that his best friend is a talking car.  By the time you reach this scene in the movie, your sense of humor will have been dulled to the point that you'll laugh at this joke like it's the funniest thing you've ever heard.  You will feel ashamed for laughing later.

James Marsden as Fred O'Hare.  Cyclops plays a 20-something who won't get a job until his family stages an intervention and kicks him out of the house.  He's supposed to be the protagonist, and you're supposed to feel sorry for him, but he just ends up reminding you of your brother-in-law who isn't qualified to be a janitor, but won't go on an interview unless it's for a title like "CEO of Outer Space".

(Note:  If you want to see James Marsden in a legit comedic role, check him out in "SexDrive".  Statistically, it's almost guaranteed that you haven't seen it, and that's a shame, because it's really very good.)

Gary Cole as Henry O'Hare.  Lundberg plays Cyclop's dad.  Right around the time he's kicking his son out of the house, you also expect him to remind him to use a cover sheet on his TPS reports.  "Did you get the memo?"

Speaking of dads and House, Hugh Laurie voices the Easter Bunny, E.B.'s dad.  But he does it in his real voice, so he doesn't sound like Dr. House, but just an old British guy.

This movie would have been greatly improved if they'd just put a pair of bunny ears on Hugh Laurie and had him play Gregory House (but as the Easter Bunny) for two hours.

Hank Azaria as Carlos/Phil.  One of the main reasons I was willing to see this in theaters was Hank Azaria.  You may not recognize the name, but you've probably seen him (maybe in "The Birdcage" or "Mystery Men").  The previews were 80% Hank Azaria.  Well, despite voicing two characters, he's barely in this movie.  I honestly think Lundberg got more screentime.

Chelsea Handler as Ms. Beck.  Ms. Beck is technically a fictional character, but this is really just Chelsea Handler playing Chelsea a business suit.  (In other words, a woman who you want to hit in the face with an axe, but it looks like someone beat you to a business suit.)

Her presence in the movie wasn't really a high point, but it provided for entertaining conversation as we tried to explain to my Dad that, no, that woman's name isn't Chelsea Lately.

"I Want Candy" Scene.  Cyclops and cartoon rabbit upstage a gradeschoolers' Easter musical via an impromptu rendition of "I Want Candy".  This is...funny?  Maybe if you use "funny" to mean "less mentally painful than the rest of the movie".

Pink Berets.  A trio of ninja assassin girl bunnies.  They never talk, and there's one dumb one.  It's kind of cute.

CGI Integration.  This movie did an amazing job of giving the CGI characters real heft and weight, and the blending of live-action and CGI was seamless.  I have as many good things to say about the animators of this movie as I have bad things to say about the writers.

Intervention Scene.  This.  This was the absolute best part of the movie, and I would love this scene as a standalone (maybe a short film?).  In the middle of dinner, the whole family pulls out pre-written statements to stage an intervention for Cyclops being such a loser, and to announce he's being kicked out of the house and cut off from all assistance.  The young Asian daughter reads, "Sometimes I feel like you adopted me because Fred was such a disappointment," and the parents nod in agreement.  The whole movie should have been like this.

My overall impression?  Well, my son loved it, so that counts for something (I guess).  Take your kids to it and try to get joy out of their joy.  Barring that, see if you can just talk their grandparents into taking them.

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