Cars and Critters

by Matthew Curtis
June 12, 2006 4:59 AM
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I'm sure Pixar's CARS will have made a jillion dollars in its opening weekend, but I must say I'm not excited in the least to check it out. Anytime you've got quotes from Access Hollywood (Scott Mantz--who?), Maria ("you can always use me if you can't find anyone else") Salas from NBC-TV/Miami, and Gene ("I'm not Horatio Sanz") Shalit from the Today Show on the opening day full-page ads, I'm running in the other direction. As much as I enjoyed (dare I say it, even loved) some of Pixar's other feature efforts, this one has left me cold since I began seeing the glaringly unfunny trailers for it a year and a half ago. Maybe if I was a Nascar fan or my kids were smaller and attendance was mandatory...

For my money, the animated film that's on screen now (though not quite the nearly 4000 that Disney's little auto movie is parked on) and well worth your attention is DreamWorks's very entertaining OVER THE HEDGE. This funny and clever tale of a group of forest animals up against suburban sprawl has a nice satiric bite, stunning animation (the non-human detail is jaw-dropping!), and the perfectly cast voice talents of Bruce Willis, Gary Shandling, Steve Carrell, Wanda Sykes, William Shatner, Nick Nolte, and others. The fact that their characters take on some of the actors' mannerisms and personalities is a joy. Hell, it even has songs by Ben Folds, including a cool cover of The Clash's "Lost in the Supermarket" over the end credits. Believe me, you do not need to bring a child with you to go see this movie--in fact, the adults in the audience were laughing a lot harder than the kids. But if you do, I'm sure they'll thank you for it and appreciate that it's 33 minutes shorter (83 vs. 116) than that other animated blockbuster.

--Matthew

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