Dan's Review: "Nut Job 2" improves on its predecessor
Aug 10, 2017 02:58PM
● By Dan Metcalf
The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature - © 2017 Open Road Films
The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature (Open Road Films)
Rated PG for action and some rude humor.
Starring (voices of) Will Arnett, Maya Rudolph, Jackie Chan, Katherine Heigl, Bobby Moynihan, Bobby Cannavale, Isabela Moner, Jeff Dunham, Gabriel Iglesias, Sebastian Maniscalco, Peter Stormare, Kari Wahlgren, Tom Kenny.
Written by Cal Brunker, Bob Barlen and Scott Bindley, based on characters created by Peter Lepeniotis.
Directed by Cal Brunker.
First, the good news: The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature is way better than its predecessor. The bad news? It would be hard to be worse. When The Nut Job squirrelled (ha) its way into theaters a little more than 3 years ago, the animated feature had the dubious distinction of appearing on my “worst” list (and others, I’m sure). Problem is, the darned movie made enough money to warrant a sequel.
Will Arnett is back to voice Surly, a purple squirrel with a knack for slacking who lives the city park of Oakton (we assume some time in the 40s or early 50s). His romantic interest Andie (Katheryn Heigl) tries to get Surly to wean himself and the park creatures from the spoils of an abandoned nut shop nearby, with little success. When the shop explodes, the animals are forced to return to their natural instincts, or die. Complicating things even more is the town’s corrupt mayor (Bobby Moynihan) who plans to replace the city’s only green space with a shoddy amusement park. Surly leads the animals to thwart construction efforts, but is only mildly effective. He enlists the services of Mr. Feng (Jackie Chan) the leader of a Chinatown mouse gang to combat the mayor’s construction crews. Meanwhile, Surly’s pug friend Precious (Maya Rudolph) is captured by the mayor’s bratty daughter Heather (Isabela Moner), who also terrorizes her own dog Frankie (Bobby Cannavale). As the amusement park opens, Surly, Feng and the rest of the animals must work together to bring corrupt mayor to justice and save the park.
As mentioned in the lead paragraph, The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature is a vast improvement on the original. Then again, that isn’t saying much. True, there is a visible upgrade in the quality of the animation from the first film, making Nut Job 2 a little smoother, with more fluid motion. Unlike the original Nut Job, the sequel offers a few chuckles, mostly involving Jacki Chan’s character and his cute mice compadres kicking butt. There are plenty of sight gags involving cute, fuzzy animals to entertain little kids, but for the most part, The Nut Job 2 is a movie most adults will tolerate, rather than enjoy (excerpt from my 2014 review: “Sure, many kids will get a few giggles from the pratfalls and potty humor, but The Nut Job is a movie that must be endured by adults…”). See a trend?
So, jumping up from two spots on the grade scale might be a good thing, but when you’re jumping up from the bottom, it’s nothing to go nuts about.
The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature Trailer