Over The Hedge

on May 19, 2006 by Matt Caracappa
As it becomes all the more clear that CG-animated movies are now par for the course and not indicative of a must-see event, "Over the Hedge" still delivers. It's not the ultimate effort of some of the films it will be compared to, but it's sharp, funny and it'll keep the kids smiling for a solid 90 minutes.

Bruce Willis voices RJ, an impulsive raccoon who enlists the unwitting help of a band of just-out-of-hibernation forest animals to pay off a huge food-related debt to a big bad bear. Introducing Verne the turtle (Garry Shandling), Stella the skunk (Wanda Sykes) and more goofy, celebrity-voiced critters to corn chips and other junk food for the first time, the gang heads out -- over the hedge -- into the human-populated neighborhood in search of sugar and spice. Of course, when you mix forest animals and suburban culture, hilarity ensues. The other animals don't realize that they're being used by RJ to pay off his debt to the bear, but as things progress, the raccoon sees more in his troop than a means to save his skin.

With so many likeable, imitable characters playing into every forest creature cliché you could think of, kids will have no trouble picking their favorites and reciting their lines, over and over and over again, until you have no choice but to arbitrarily send them to their rooms. Still, "Over The Hedge" is a picturesque and vivid film, and it's exciting to watch, even if the story and setting can't compare to some of the other CG epics of recent years. Voices by Bruce Willis, Garry Shandling, Steve Carell and Wanda Sykes. Directed by Tim Johnson and Karey Kirkpatrick. Written by Len Blum. Produced by Bonnie Arnold. A DreamWorks release. Comedy. Rated PG for mild language. Running time: 83 min

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