THE NUT JOB
Repentance Conquers Greed and Pride
Starring: The Voices of Will Arnett,
Brendan Fraser, Liam Neeson,
Katherine Heigl, Stephen Lang,
Maya Rudolph, Jeff Dunham,
Gabriel Iglesias, Sarah Gadon,
Scott Yaphe, Joe Pingue,
Audience: All Ages
Runtime: 86 minutes
Distributor: Open Road Films
Director: Peter Lepeniotis
Executive Producer: Hongjoo Ahn, William Bindley,
Hoe Jin Ha, Mike Karz, Hong
Kim, Hyungkon Kim, Daniel Woo,
Producer: Woo-Kyung Jung, Graham Moloy
Writer: Peter Lepeniotis, Daniel Woo,
Address Comments To:Tom Ortenberg, CEO, Open Road Films
12301 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 600
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Phone: (310) 571-2200; Fax: (310) 571-2278
Surly is a devious, troublemaking squirrel. All the park animals, led by Raccoon (Liam Neeson), are preparing for winter by storing their food in the big oak at the city park. Surly, a greedy outcast, sets out to find his own food. Raccoon warns the park animals that there won’t be enough food for winter, so he sets two squirrels on a food mission. They include Andie, a smart, strong willed female squirrel, and Grayson, the sly “Park Hero” who’s secretly incompetent and afraid of everything.
Andie, Grayson, and Surly simultaneously try to raid a nut cart. Surly’s greed causes an accident that destroys the park oak tree and all the food inside. Raccoon decides that Surly must be banished from the park and into the city for good. Andie objects to the harsh punishment, but the animals agree, and Surly is forced to leave.
City life is dangerous for a park squirrel like Surly, but his pride keeps him from apologizing and trying to make up for his mistake. When Surly and his rat friend, Buddy, come across a giant nut store, they decide to plan a heist to steal the nuts.
Andie and Grayson show up and agree to help them with the heist, as long as Surly agrees to share the food with the park animals. Little do they know is that the human owners of the nut store are planning their own heist – a bank across the street. As the two heists take place, plans are set and true character motives are revealed.
THE NUT JOB is a lot of fun. The animation isn’t on par with Pixar or DreamWorks, but like the 2005 animated hit HOODWINKED, the fun characters keep the story immersive. The only flaw is that the heist plot gets a little hard to follow near the end because of the plethora of characters.
Happily, the movie has a very strong moral worldview with Biblical virtues taught throughout. Surly starts out greedy and proud, only looking out for his own interests. By the end, he learns what it means to be a friend and the importance of sharing rather then taking. He even sacrifices his own life for the safety of his friends. Other positive values include Andie sticking up for Surly, stating it’s unjust for him to be banished without a proper trial.
Additionally, the movie does a great job establishing its villains. However, the entire plot of the movie revolves around animals stealing from a nut store owned by humans. It becomes more complicated when the nut store and the nuts themselves are fronts for the evil bank robbers. Even so, the movie does all this without vilifying all humans, unlike the politically correct animated movie ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH and FREE BIRDS. THE NUT JOB avoids clichés by teaching positive lessons through fun, well-developed characters in an entertaining and safe way. A light caution for young children is advised due to a chase sequence at the end and some light scatological humor.
THE NUT JOB is great fun. It has a very strong moral worldview with biblical virtues taught throughout. There’s also some redemptive elements. For example, Surly starts out greedy and proud, only looking out for his own interests. By the end, he learns what it means to be a friend and the importance of sharing rather then taking. He even sacrifices his own life for the safety of his friends. THE NUT JOB does have some light comical slapstick violence and brief scatological humor.