Ant Bully, The
PG
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: +3

Voices: Nicolas Cage, Bruce Campbell, Zach Tyler Eisen, Paul Giamatti, Regina King, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin. Animated family comedy. Written and directed by John A. Davis.

From Academy Award nominated filmmaker John A. Davis (Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius) and producers Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman (The Polar Express), The Ant Bully tells the tale of 10-year-old Lucas, the new kid in town. Friendless and tormented by a neighborhood bully, Lucas has been taking out his frustration on the ant hill in his yard. But one day the ants retaliate. Using a magic potion, they shrink Lucas down to their size and sentence him to live like an ant in the colony. In this strange new world Lucas learns important lessons about friendship, gets a whole new perspective on life and ultimately finds the courage to stand up for himself.

Its an allegory at times the ants are used to point out mans struggles with the differences between races rather than embracing them. At other times the ants represent mankinds foibles and smallness. And just in case you didnt get the metaphors the first time, writer/director John A. Davis drills them home repeatedly, as if he were a piano teacher instructing an autistic child.

Despite the filmmakers good intentions, his choice of metaphoric entities is troublesome. Hey, these are ants. And for me, ants will always represent terrorists with whom there is no bargaining. They sneak up and devour that which is not theirs. They do not wish to bargain with the rest of Gods creatures. You cant make nice with them. As long as they stay in the grass, we got no problem. But when they cross our thresholds, its time to gird the loins with Raid Bug Bomb.

The story teaches that bullies are bad and that kids should embrace the differences in others. Whats more, director Davis offers his Sunday school lesson entertainingly, cleanly and with respect for older audience members. The film has energy, a great look and lots of humor, a pleasant outing for families.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Warner Bros.

Summary
Crude Language: The boy eats what he thinks is a delicacy only to discover that it is bug poop; we see the top of a slobby bug exterminators bottom.
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: None
Violence: A bully brat badgers our brave boy; the ants must defend themselves from wasps and the attacks of man; the boy is placed in somewhat perilous adventures; the concept of having something placed in your ear while sleeping, being shrunk, then kidnapped from your home, may be unsettling for very little tykes. Parents should be there to reassure.
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: When shrunk, the boy is sans clothing, until draped by a leave. But it is handled in a family friendly fashion.
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: None
Other: The ants worship the Ant mother, a God they believe will return to save them. I found it to be a positive salute to the need of a spiritual awareness.
Running Time: 88 minutes
Intended Audience: Family

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