Easter-themed animation is ‘passable, if unexceptional, family fodder’


(C) 2011 Universal Studios. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Director: Tim Hill
Starring: James Marsden, Russell Brand, Hugh Laurie (Japanese version: Koichi Yamadera, Yudai Chiba, Hochu Otsuka)
Time Out rating:
Japanese title: Easter Rabbit no Candy Kojo

Director Tim Hill’s follow-up to Alvin and the Chipmunks is a less obnoxious affair but it’s still low on charm and laughs. A hare-brained slice of Easter confection, Hop is at best an affable mix of live-action and CG-animation which bounces along with a modest spring in its step. The story concerns young rabbit EB (Russell Brand) – heir to the Easter Bunny crown – who, on the eve of assuming the mantle from his father (Hugh Laurie), flees the family candy factory on Easter Island to pursue his dream of becoming a drummer in Los Angeles. Once there he hooks up with directionless, 30-year-old human Fred O’Hare (James Marsden), while back at the factory, his father’s second in command – gargantuan chick Carlos (Hank Azaria) – is plotting a coup d’état.

Marsden demonstrated a knack for exuberant comedy in Enchanted and he mugs gamely as man-child Fred. However, as EB, Brand is diffident and banal; he continues to lack versatility as an actor, seemingly more comfortable in his own skin (a disaster when voicing animation – see his work as Dr Nefario in Despicable Me). In contrast, seasoned voice actor Azaria (The Simpsons) is an unflappable presence, voicing two characters with style. Illumination Entertainment’s second feature, after the smash hit Despicable Me, is a disappointment then. Still, though they lack originality, its creations are at least near-tangibly rendered and the interplay between actors and creatures works well enough. An impromptu rendition of the theme-song, ‘I Want Candy’, is a horrible low point, but for the most part it’s passable, if unexceptional, family fodder.

Hop opens nationwide on August 19. Note that the majority of screenings are dubbed in Japanese

By Emma Simmonds
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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