Flushed Away
PG
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: +3

FILM SYNOPSIS: From DreamWorks Animation and Aardman Features, the teams behind the Oscar-winning hits Shrek and Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, comes the computer-animated comedy Flushed Away.Blending Aardmans trademark style and characterizations with DreamWorks state-of-the-art computer animation, the film marks a unique new look for the artform.

PREVIEW REVIEW: In this new comedy set on and beneath the streets of London, Roddy St. James (Hugh Jackman) is a pampered pet mouse who thinks hes got it made.But when a sewer rat named Sid (Shane Richie) - the definition of low life - comes spewing out of the sink and decides its his turn to enjoy the lap of luxury, Roddy schemes to rid himself of the pest by luring him into the loo for a dip in the whirlpool.Roddys plan backfires when he inadvertently winds up being the one flushed away into the bustling world down below.Underground, Roddy discovers a vast metropolis, where he meets Rita (Kate Winslet), a street-wise rat who is on a mission of her own.If Roddy is going to get home, he and Rita will need to escape the clutches of the villainous Toad (Sir Ian McKellen), who royally despises all rodents and has dispatched two hapless henchrats, Spike (Andy Serkis) and Whitey (Bill Nighy), as well as his cousin - that dreaded mercenary Le Frog (Jean Reno) to see that Roddy and Rita are iced literally.

Flushed Away is being directed by David Bowers and Sam Fell.

When I heard the title, I thought, Okay, how crude is this one going to be while in the guise of being a family animated comedy? But I havent been this surprised by a film in a long time. It is sweet, good-natured, clean, and very, very funny. It reminded me of the Wile E. Coyote cartoons, not simply because its loaded with the same slapstick buffoonery where the pompous and the dastardly get pummeled, but because it is so obvious that the filmmakers are having a blast.

Most animated films aimed at kids, yet desiring to appease accompanying guardians, have a tendency to inject their work with several current pop culture references. In Flushed Away, we not only get these iconic giveaways, but a few that only us old-timers will remember, such as a quick tribute to the 60s Batman TV series. One of the funniest comic cameos was a reference to Finding Nemo. As Roddy is caught in a quick-moving flush of water, he passes a small fish who asks him, Have you seen my dad? It didnt get much of an amused response from my screening crowd. I wasnt sure if that was because it went by so quickly, or if the reference was already dated, Finding Nemo having come out a whole three years ago. But I got it and wasnt shy about laughing out loud. Indeed, I laughed out loud a lot.

I might hesitate to put it alongside the classics (Finding Nemo, Toy Story, Shrek), but of all the animated films this year (and there were a bunch and still more to come) Flushed Away tickled my funny bone the most. I could tell and loved the fact that that the filmmakers made a point that friendship and family are more important than possessing things. At the same time they follow the standards of Chuck Jones and Loony Tunes make em laugh.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: DreamWorks

Summary
Crude Language: Though it avoids most sophomoric humor, it does contain a few moments parents may raise an eyebrow to as their little ones giggle. The sewer rat is a crude fellow who belches; some of the slapstick humor involves hits to the groin, a couple of jokes are mined from religious parody (but nothing hostile or sacrilegious), and the inevitable flatulence joke.
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: None
Violence: Much of the action is cartoonish slapstick and the heroes are often in peril, but the filmmakers are mindful of little audience members.
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: None
Other: None
Running Time: 86 minutes
Intended Audience: Family

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