Monday, September 17, 2012

Review: Hop (2011)

I think it comes as no surprise that Hop is a movie geared towards children.  Wait – let me rephrase that.  Hop is movie made with the intent of getting parents to spend money on their children (as if that isn’t the case for all such movies).  You see, not all live action kids movies are created equally.  Some actually have a plot like The Mighty Ducks, while others are just vehicles to sell tickets, DVDs, and merchandise.  This one is definitely more the latter.  I can almost imagine how this movie came to be - someone over at Universal perusing a calendar looking for a holiday to exploit since Christmas and Halloween have been done to death, and stumbling upon a weekend in April.  And voila!  The movie's born.  So you may be wondering then, how it came to be that I crossed paths with this film.  I chalk it up to the cumulative effect of USC losing to Stanford, to the Patriots losing to Arizona, and to the remote control just plain being lost.  Had any one of these conditions been different, I probably would have been able to muster up the effort to change the channel.

The plot of Hop tells the story of E.B. - the soon-to-be anointed Easter Bunny – who dreams of being a rock drummer and thus runs away from his home on – that’s right, you guessed it – Easter Island to pursue his dreams.  Along the way he crosses paths with Fred O’Hare (played by James Marsden), a young man in a life rut who is having difficulty finding a proper career much to the dismay of his family.  The movie details their unlikely friendship as they help each other find their respective niches in the world.

For anyone over the age of ten, this movie is a complete write off.  There’s nothing in this for you unless you are absolutely enamored with James Marsden or Kaley Cuoco.  Even then, your devotion will definitely be put to the test.  For kids under the age of ten, you could probably do a lot worse.  The movie has the requisite lessons on morality – following your dreams, don’t be selfish, et al – and is for the most part void of inappropriately mature humor.  Unfortunately that’s about all the good I can say about this movie.

The members of the cast certainly do not do the film or themselves any favors with their respective performances.  James Marsden is certainly trying in this movie, but it’s hard to discern what exactly it is he is trying to do.  He should be at a point in his career where he is passed playing this type of man-child, but maybe he just really needed a paycheck.  That could also explain his appearance in the deplorable Bachelorette.  And if James Marsden is possibly in the midst of a money grab, Russell Brand (as the voice of E.B.) most definitely is.  With Hop, Arthur, and Rock of Ages, he is on a run that would make even Nic Cage envious.   And on a side note, I found it a curious choice to give the Easter Bunny a British accent.  Since Easter Island is a property of Chile, wouldn’t it have been more accurate to give him a Chilean accent?  But I digress.  As for the rest of the cast, there is not much to report.  Hank Azaria, Kaley Cuoco, Gary Cole, Elizabeth Perkins, and Hugh Laurie are present and accounted for and deliver their proper lines.  That’s about all there is to say about their performances.  In their defense however, not much is asked of them so little should be expected.

So what else can I say?  Should you watch this movie?  Absolutely not.  Should you worry about letting your kids, your younger siblings, or your nieces and nephews watch it?  Probably not.  A best-case scenario is that it holds their attention for an hour and a half and gets them excited for jellybeans and Easter egg hunts.  A worst-case scenario is that the kids get really bored mid film and decide to tear up the living room while you’re not paying attention.  Just know that everyone in this movie probably participated in this project for one reason only – money.  So try and resist the temptation to throw your hard earned dollars at a project like this and hopefully the next time the powers-that-be attempt to exploit a holiday, they’ll at least produce a film on par with Jon Favreau’s Elf

Standout Performance: David Hasselhoff.  His appearance in this movie makes no sense whatsoever and adds zero value for the target audience, but the Hoff is playing a caricature of himself, which is the only role that he is ideally suited for.


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