Voices of: Will Arnett Katherine Heigl Maya Rudolph Jackie Chan Bobby Canavale Bobby Moynihan
In this version of the Nut Job stories, the animals have found that the nut store from the first story is abandoned and filled to the brim with nuts and nut products. They are gorging to their hearts’ content, getting lazy and spoiled, according to Andie (Heigl); she realizes that the store has a real downside, whereas her friend Surly (Arnett) discounts her concerns and fails to get her point. She tries valiantly to get the animals to forage for nuts, work hard, and save but they’re not really interested. Their indolence actually results in the store burning to the ground after an explosion occurred when someone who was supposed to be minding the boiler forgot about it. But it doesn’t really matter because what neither Surly nor Andie realizes is that the corrupt mayor of Oakton City (Moynihan) has plans to destroy Liberty Park and put in a dangerous (because he doesn’t want to bother with safety issues) amusement park with rides and all the junk foods that Andie abhors—cotton candy, peanuts, ice cream, popcorn, pizza.
Andie plays a kind of stereotypical female role in trying to convince the male Surly to step up, get the animals to pull together, exercise their instincts, and resist the humans. His response is the male-like war cry. “You’re going to fight the humans?” says Andie incredulously. He does get the animals to rally around, but they will go through many struggles, even trying to move to another park in the city, in fighting the humans. Along the way, they run into hordes of mice with a cheeky leader, Mr. Don’t-call-me-cute! Feng (Chan), which constitute an additional threat as “a weapon of mouse destruction.”
The film has good messages for children about working hard, being responsible, cooperating with one another, doing what is right rather than what is easy, and valuing the natural world and their own instinctual nature. The mayor and his spoiled, mean daughter are shown to be truly evil forces that must be deterred somehow. In the end, everybody seems to have learned something, or have suffered the consequences.
The animation and visual effects are very good, but I noticed the picture was not bright, sharp, and colorful like most of these productions are. It could have been the projector or other equipment at fault, and the version I was shown is not in 3D, which could also account for the problem; but this was a surprise for an animation and detracted from the film’s quality.
A film with some good points, but not a great improvement over the previous Nut Job.