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Movie Review: "The Nut Job"

Open Road Films(NEW YORK) -- The Nut Job is a 3D animated film about a squirrel who doesn’t like to share his nuts.  The squirrel I speak of is named Surly (voiced by Will Arnett).  Surly is purple and lives up to his name.  With the exception of a mute rat named Buddy who follows Surly everywhere, our hero is pretty much a loner -- and also a rabble-rouser, drawing the ire of park leader Raccoon (Liam Neeson) and disdain from the other animals who live there.

Before long, it’s going to be winter, and all of the animals -- squirrels, birds, raccoons, mice, rats -- are collecting food.  Only this year, there's a shortage.  Surly has no desire to contribute.  Instead, it’s every squirrel for himself, and he has his eye on a nut cart in front of the park.  A female squirrel named Andie (Katherine Heigl) has also discovered the cart, but she wants it for the park, not just for herself. 

Andie and the park hero, anther squirrel named Grayson (Brendan Frasier), are dispatched by Raccoon to retrieve the nuts from the cart.  But thanks to Surly, things go awry and Raccoon and friends decide it's time to banish him from their beloved park.  Once he’s forced to survive the mean city streets, Surly will surely change his ways.  Right?

Salvation will come in the form of a nut shop, which is really a front for a few bank robbers.  At first, Surly plans to rob the robbers and keep all of those nuts for himself, but one thing leads to another and the animals from the park get involved.

Yes, your small children will enjoy these talking animals and there’s a nice lesson about sharing and putting others and the community at large before yourself.  Because this is a rather unoriginal film with little imagination, there’s also lots of farting involved, and let’s just say, it’s not a gas.  The Nut Job would’ve been better as a 10-minute animated short and not a feature-length film.  It simply lacks the sophistication and intelligence we've seen from so many other animated family offerings over the last decade.

Two out of five stars.

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