Over the Hedge
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: +3

Voices: Bruce Willis, Garry Shandling, Steve Carell, William Shatner, Avril Lavigne, Nick Nolte. Animated family comedy adventure. Based on the popular comic strip by Michael Fry and T Lewis. Directed by Tim Johnson (Antz) and Karey Kirkpatrick (Chicken Run).

FILM SYNOPSIS: Woodland varmints are led to believe that the gateway to the good life, where peculiar creatures called humans live to eat rather than eat to live, lies just beyond the hedge in a place called Suburbia. Though leery of this other world, they are tempted by a mischievous con-artist raccoon to investigate. Sure enough they discover that their over-indulgent human neighbors live in a land of plenty a land that needs exploiting.

PREVIEW REVIEW: All the elements came together on this one. It is superb, loving work by DreamWorks, their computer animators, the cast and filmmakers. Buoyed by a nifty storyline, one containing positive messages about the importance of family and community, Over the Hedge does what a family film should it gives us solid entertainment. Im not suggesting it is in the category of Finding Nemo or Toy Story, but it has some sharp slapstick wit aimed at kids, and also embraces older guardians who probably would have preferred to go to The DaVinci Code this weekend.

I must tell you, I was highly influenced by the kids in the audience. I cant remember kids laughing so outrageously at a family film. They loved it. (There really isnt a better sound than children laughing.)

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Paramount Pictures

Crude Language: After waking from hibernation, one character says she has to go wee-wee. Thats about as rough as the language gets. There are two or three potty jokes, but overall, the writer found a way to make kids laugh without crudeness.
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: None
Violence: Though the filmmakers are always aware of their intended audience, there are a few moments that the littlest audience members may be spooked by: a bear threatens to kill our lead character, some slapstick peril as our heroes enter the world of humans, and the foraging animals must escape the Verminator an overenthusiastic exterminator. Parents should be there to reassure.
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: Please, they're cartoon animals.
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: None
Other: Although they are stealing food from the humans, the animals learn life lessons about caring for others, sharing and sacrificing.
Running Time: 90 minutes
Intended Audience: Kids and Family

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