Did Olive and I Go Nuts for “The Nut Job”?
Bruce: Parents, I feel your pain. It’s a three-day weekend, the weather outside is frightful and you’ve already taken the kids to see Frozen at least once. Hey, there’s a new animated movie in theaters—The Nut Job. That’ll kill some time, right? Well, I had to bribe my 12-year-old daughter, Olive, to see it with me.
Olive: I really didn’t want to see it. I was very biased against it—it just looked awful.
Bruce: And how did I convince you to go?
Olive: Twenty dollars, plus all the snacks and drinks that I wanted, but I had to watch it, critique it and take a picture with the poster.
Bruce: And I could call you my little nutjob.
Olive: No, I didn’t allow that, and if you say it one more time, you have to pay me thirty more dollars.
Bruce: So was it as bad as you thought it was going to be?
Olive: It was worse. I would say the younger kids got more of a kick out of it, but there just wasn’t anything funny about it. It was just an animated movie with no jokes.
Bruce: I didn’t hear much laughter in the theater. It was pretty full—there were a lot of kids. But I heard more laughs when I saw Schindler’s List.
Olive: Ha-ha. Okay. It was just because it’s animated that it’s thought to be for kids. I mean, there wasn’t anything that would scare kids, but there wasn’t anything that would make them happy. And the kid in front of me was very confused. Because the plot was all over the place.
Bruce: Why don’t you summarize the plot because I don’t think I understood it all?
Olive: There’s an angry squirrel who wants all the nuts for himself, but then there’s a park that’s run by a raccoon—who seems to be out all day—but then the squirrel accidentally sets the tree on fire and then they discover a nut shop which is run by a bunch of criminals who just got out of jail and want to rob a bank. Then they explode the store and meet the dog—which was the only thing I liked, because she was played by Maya Rudolph. It’s just them competing and trying to double-cross each other, but the squirrel really is the good guy and the racoon is the bad guy…
Bruce: Spoiler alert!
Olive: Okay, fine. They end up pulling each other over a waterfall and they think the squirrel’s dead…
Bruce: Now you’re really giving away the whole plot.
Olive: Fine, I don’t know!
Bruce: It was weird—I couldn’t even tell when it was set. It looked like the 1940’s.
Olive: The way they were dressed…
Bruce: And the cars and the buildings. It seemed like it was trying to be a parody of an old gangster movie…
Olive: But with squirrels and nuts.
Bruce: And it wasn’t really making fun of anything. I didn’t think any of the animals were particularly cute. They were all rodents and rats.
Olive: They were ugly and the rat tails… I was about to barf, it was so gross.
Bruce: And the squirrels were weird colors, like purple and orange. They were like mutant squirrels.
Olive: The evil rats were the most disgusting animated things I’ve ever seen. That would traumatize a child, seriously.
Bruce: What did you think of the voices? Will Arnett is the voice of Surly Squirrel. You usually like him.
Olive: I usually think he’s really funny with Maya Rudolph, because they work together a lot.
Bruce: Like on Up All Night.
Bruce: I hate Katherine Heigl’s voice. She plays the orange female squirrel. Her voice is weirdly high-pitched and annoying. It sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard.
Olive: Eww! It’s true. They didn’t really match the personalities very well.
Bruce: Brendan Fraser plays Grayson, a squirrel who’s always trying to be a hero and is a complete dope. That’s what he always plays in movies like George of the Jungle, and he overplayed it.
Olive: He was totally unneeded. He’s like a worse version of when they cut away to Scrat in Ice Age. But Grayson is trying to be a part of the movie, and he does nothing for it.
Bruce: What about Liam Neeson as the voice of Raccoon?
Olive: He didn’t stand out much, and he should’ve because he’s the antagonist.
Bruce: I thought he phoned in his vocal performance. He didn’t bring any energy to it. But he and Will Arnett are both voices in The LEGO Movie, and you want to see that.
Olive: I think that looks interesting, and I really love Chris Pratt, so I think that’s going to be one of the better animated movies. There aren’t any good ones around, except for Frozen, and everybody’s seen that.
Bruce: This is one of my friend Bret’s pet peeves—The Nut Job was like one long chase scene.
Olive: Yes! That is really, really true.
Bruce: They don’t have any confidence the audience is going to pay attention unless they’re constantly running and chasing and even shooting.
Olive: Yeah, they tried to shoot all the squirrels. I was like, wow, I can’t believe they did that. Kids don’t really like guns.
Bruce: And what was with the weird thing at the end where Psy showed up singing “Gangnam Style”?
Olive: Random Animated Psy singing “Gangnam Style” around the closing credits!
Bruce: It just seemed old, because it takes them a year to make an animated movie. They should’ve had something more recent, like “What Does the Fox Say?”
Olive: And they could’ve done that with all the animals.
Olive: At first I thought the movie would be good for kids 8 and under, but the plot changes every five minutes. It’s just rising action, and there’s no climax.
Bruce: There were a lot of nut puns in the movie. I usually like puns, but these weren’t funny.
Olive: They weren’t even puns. They were just people calling each other nuts, over and over again, and you were supposed to laugh. It was like, “Hey, you’re nuts!” “That’s nuts!” “That’s a nuts plan!” It didn’t even work sometimes.
Bruce: So what would you suggest parents do with their kids instead of going to see The Nut Job?
Olive: Take them to Chuck E. Cheese. It gives kids vomiting and nightmares, too, but it’s run by a rodent and it just got sold for a billion dollars, so at least he’s smart.