Director: Tim Hill
Starring: James Marsden, Russell Brand, Hugh Laurie, Hank Azaria
In recent years, the quality threshold for family-friendly animated features has skyrocketed thanks to all-ages classics such as the Toy Story and Ice Age franchises. So it is always disappointing when lightweight fluff such as Hop comes along, bright and bouncy but squarely targeted at undiscerning toddlers rather than their long-suffering parents or guardians. A slick blend of cuddly CGI animation and live action, Hop follows the wholesome adventures of a rebellious young rabbit, voiced by the British comedian Russell Brand, who shuns family duties by running away from his father's Willy Wonka-style sweet factory on Easter Island. Defying his destiny to become the Easter Bunny, a mythical Santa-like figure who delivers chocolate to children all over the world, he aspires instead to become a rock drummer in Hollywood. Teaming up with James Marsden's fellow slacker, this time of the human variety, he gets to follow his dream via a fateful meeting with David Hasselhoff. Although it originated in Europe, the annual ritual surrounding the Easter Bunny has evolved into a very American celebration of confectionery and consumerism. It signifies very little in many other parts of the world, which means Hop will leave wider global audiences baffled and bored. The script lobs a few lazy jokes at adult viewers, but mostly delivers a shiny, characterless, squeaky-clean blend of laboured jokes and thin caricatures. A handful of younger children at the screening I attended laughed out loud half a dozen times, but nobody older than five needs to risk rotting their teeth on this sugary nonsense.
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