Review: Tim Hill’s 'HOP'ing Latest Rarely Reaches High Altitude, But Works Its Visual Magic
At first glance ‘HOP’ is way too familiar, right? Live action film with talking rodents who interact and coexist with humans. Hmm… haven’t we seen that before? Oh, yeah, The Chipmunks! Remember those little annoying bundles of joy? It’s no secret the déjà vu feeling is apparent considering Director Tim Hill is behind this Easter-based story of fictional dreams and living them up, along side the creators of ‘DESPICABLE ME’ (2010). Cute, ey? Well, yeah, to a certain degree, and with the successes of the films created by those involved with ‘HOP,’ why wouldn’t they have a winner with this one as well?
Nowadays, this kind of movie “magic” no longer “Wows” anyone, so if there’s something that needs to be on point when piecing these films together is: One, the script and two, cast!
‘HOP’ was able to acquire a star in Russell Brand, whose career has been growing since his days of ‘FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL’ (2008), which created a spin-off titled ‘GET HIM TO THE GREEK’ (2010), as well as rehashing the role of Arthur in ‘ARTHUR,’ which will be released April 8, 2011. In ‘HOP,’ he’s the voice of “E.B.” (Easter Bunny), who at an early age takes all of his father’s (Hugh Laurie) successes for granted by drumming up dreams which lives on for years, until that one day where he protests his father’s idea of handing down the business of delivering candy on Easter for Tinsel Town (Hollywood), where he starts to venture out on what he really wants to do—keep drumming his way to fame and fortune.
Amidst E.B.’s rocking journey, he comes across “Fred” (X-Men’s Cyclops, or James Marsden to some of you!), an out-of-work slacker who accidentally injures E.B., and must take him in as he recovers. During Fred’s struggles with the world’s most troublemaking, hyperactive, houseguest, both will learn what it takes to finally grow up.
Simultaneously disappointing their folks, life has strange ways of presenting both Fred and E.B. with situations that allows them to explore their love, as well as appreciate the art of how harsh reality can be when trying to realize what’s fictional.
On one hand we have E.B. driving Daddy E.B. crazy due to desperately needing to hand down the family business which sparks the interest of “Carlos” (Hank Azaria) who spares no opportunity at landing that spot even though he’s a chick(en), while Fred’s just a typical hop-along loser with no idea what the hell it is he wants in life, further deepening resentment from those around him—especially his family!
A journey which jumps from one frame to the next, the script to an extent seemed a bit rushed. At least for me it seemed that way, seeing as everything from dialog to monologue seemed like I was watching a TV Sitcom rather than an actual film. Maybe it was budget, maybe it was timing, maybe it was editing, who knows? But for some reason although thorough in building up who’s who, the film was way TOO fast and it took some time for me to really sit and soak in what I had seen. (David Hasselhoff!? WTF!?)
It doesn’t mean it was a bad film, because it wasn’t. I found it quite enjoyable and preferred to watch one rodent on screen, while sporadically viewing others, therefore, from that perspective; I found it a lot more enjoyable than those annoying chipmunks. The humanistic aspect of it when watching Fred, his family, and life as a whole was interesting, as millions of us find ourselves in Fred’s situation, but I really didn’t feel any of Fred’s obligations or concerns. For someone who’s out-of-work during contemporary times, his attitude is way too laid back. And further more when his parents (Gary Cole and Elizabeth Perkins) aren’t shedding a dime and pushing him out, that’s enough to strike a spark under anyone’s rear and get them moving!
The end result, it’s simply a film, so suspending reality is a necessity—especially when considering this film’s about a freaking Easter Bunny!
To much avail, the film’s cute and although what I’m a bout to say may drop the value of what hangs between my legs, it’s reality, therefore, I have no shame in saying I found it cute, funny in certain parts and it allows a child to sort of piece some kind of back-story regarding The Easter Bunny, as well as allow grown-ups to work up our own questions regarding Easter and its characters.
Personally: It’s all religious crap which stems from the day’s core, but I’m okay with fiction from time to time!
Will this film be a blockbuster like ‘DESPICABLE ME’ (2010) or any of the chipmunk movies, I don’t know, I can’t answer, but I do know as we close in on the holiday itself, there’s an audience for it (mainly children), and I think it’s something to present to kids if you want them to sit and shut up for an hour and change.
GRADE: C+ / GENRE: Comedy, Kids/Family, Animation and Holiday / ROARS: 3 out of 5
RATED: PG / RUN TIME: 1 Hr. 35 Min.
STARRING: Russell Brand, James Marsden, Hank Azaria, Hugh Laurie, Gary Cole, Elizabeth Perkins, Kaley Cuoco
DIRECTOR: Tim Hill
(Opens Friday, April 1, 2011)
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