Over the Hedge (review)

It may be easy taking potshots at supersized McMansions, supersized SUVs, supersized suburban developments, and supersized Americans, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun. Based on the popular newspaper comic strip by Michael Fry and T. Lewis, this latest entry from DreamWorks we-ain’t-Disney CG animation division is just as edgy as we’ve come to expect from the upstart cartoonists: that is, its gentle subversion is surrounded by a cheerful, unsappy tale about family and love and other such inarguably nice sentiments. In an unlikely alliance, a raccoon (the voice of Bruce Willis [16 Blocks], and all snark aside, it’s one of his best performances ever) and a turtle (the voice of Garry Shandling [Town and Country], and ditto) lead a merry band of woodland critters — including a hilarious Steve Carell (The 40 Year-Old Virgin) as a hyperactive squirrel — on a foray into the artificial world of roll-up lawns, pink plastic flamingoes, and bountiful garbage cans filled with the half-eaten leavings of the strange bald primates who have too much food and still are never satisfied. The lowbrow jokes, thrown in for the kiddies, do not overwhelm the far more cynical humor aimed directly at the grownup audience, who will snicker at it at the same time they’re recognizing (hopefully) their own obscene consumerist foibles. If you can laugh at the bit in which the opening of a vacuum-sealed bag of nacho chips results in a mushroom cloud of neon-orange cheese powder while at the same thing accepting it grudgingly as a metaphor for man’s inhumanity to man via synthetic snack food, then you’re getting it.

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