Surly Squirrel (Will Arnett) has a plan to feed all Liberty Park’s critters in The Nut Job.

Surly Squirrel (Will Arnett) has a plan to feed all Liberty Park’s critters in The Nut Job.

Reel Reviews: Store these nuts for winter

The Nut Job could be a little nuttier, but your kids may like it if candy is involved.

  • Jan. 24, 2014 5:00 p.m.

When Surly Squirrel (voiced by Will Arnett) is ostracized from Liberty Park because his selfish attitude and clumsy methods lead to the destruction of the old oak tree all the critters call home, he is forced to find food and shelter in the unforgiving city streets.

With only his simpleton rat friend Buddy at his side, Surly feels like he’s doomed until he discovers his own nutty nirvana in the form of Maury’s Nut Shop. To regain the trust of the residents of Liberty Park, Surly shares his find, which seems like it will feed everyone for years to come.

As the critters plan and execute the nut job, they unwittingly expose the fact that Maury’s Nut Shop is actually a front for mobsters who are planning a heist of their own, from the bank across the street.

Will either heist succeed?

We say, “We’ve seen nuttier.”

TAYLOR: On the whole, I was disappointed with this film and I think the few people in the audience would agree with me. There weren’t a lot of butts in seats for a dismal Sunday matinee, maybe 20 people, over half of them children. Yet I heard only one child laugh and only once, no excited exclamations, not even a question asked, proving interest.

There are some things I did like about The Nut Job, but the things that make a good kid flick —story, character and fun— seemed to be lacking. This is a film that simply goes through the motions and the setting, pace and concept, although hip and cool, are not enough to lift it out of obscurity.

HOWE: I took my little boy on Monday night and we were the only two in the place and I can see why. I found the movie slow and dull. Even though he said he enjoyed it, I don’t think he really did. Normally, after I have taken him to a film, he says, “did you see this or did you see that?” This time he just sat in the back of the car munching on his burger and fries, not saying a word about it.

TAYLOR: Was he pensive? Maybe he was thinking about it.

FENIN: Daaaad, you’re wrong. I really liked the dog with the bendy tail.

HOWE: Yeah, but what else did you like?

FENIN: Ummm, the candy.

HOWE: I rest my case.

TAYLOR: I can say that aside from a few obligatory flatulence jokes and nut puns, the film is in no way offensive. It’s very colourful. Surly is purple, all the rats are green and because it takes place in the 1950s, it has a familiar Warner Brothers look and sound to it. I enjoyed the square jawed mobsters in fedoras and trench coats, but an homage to Bugs Bunny and pretty scenery isn’t enough to save The Nut Job.

Taylor gives The Nut Job 2 tardy uses of Gangham Style out of 5.

— Howe gives it 1.5 goons out of 5.

Fenin gives it 4 raccoons out of 5.

The film is currently showing at the Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.

Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are film reviewers based in Vernon, whose column Reel Reviews appears in The Morning Star every Friday and Sunday.