opening earthquake
the walking dead goes the extra mile (spoilers)

by request: mr. peabody & sherman (rob minkoff, 2014)

My brother-in-law chose this one for the occasional outing four of us share. (His previous pick was 42.)

There are some OK things about Mr. Peabody & Sherman. The punning groaners are hit and miss, but everyone will laugh at a few of them. The oddball history “lessons” are also hit and miss, but the Da Vinci segment is pretty clever. This is a movie a family could see together, which generally means it’s harmless, which means I’m not really the audience for it.

The biggest problem is that they’ve expanded a four-minute cartoon into a feature-length animated extravaganza. Four minutes was about right … maybe five. It was a little cartoon with puns and a good feel for the kind of humor that would appeal to adults as much as to children (typical of Jay Ward’s work). There was no need to make a 92-minute movie out of this material. This is likely me speaking taste-preference jive, though, since the early box office returns are good. (They better be … the damn thing cost $145 million.) I don’t have the patience for these movies. I’d be far more content to watch an old Peabody & Sherman cartoon and find another way to while away the remaining 87 minutes. But people are going to see it, so what do I know?

To make matters worse, they’ve added an emotional core to the characters that left me cold. I really don’t need to see Peabody and Sherman acting out troubled father-son problems, and I don’t need them to tell each other “I love you”. It’s a movie about a genius dog and his pet kid, fer chrissakes! Jay Ward never stooped to this kind of crap, and it’s an embarrassment to see it on the screen. (Your mileage may vary, of course.)

Mr. Peabody & Sherman is harmless when it’s not trying to be The Story of Father and Son. The animation is elaborate, most of the voice characterizations are good, and if you like modern comedies more than I do, you’ll have a passable time at the theater. Me, I’m giving it 5/10.

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