Monday, December 22, 2014

See this film, and you will be hoodwinked, too

Hansel and Gretel (Bill Hader, Amy Poehler) find themselves in a predicament in the witch´s candy house.
Hansel and Gretel (Bill Hader, Amy Poehler) find themselves in a predicament in the witch's candy house. Kanbar Entertainment, the Weinstein Company
About the movie
Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil
Genre:
Action, Adventure; Animation; Comedy
MPAA rating:
PG
for some mild rude humor, language and action
Running time:
01:25
Release date:
2011
Rating:
Cast:
David Alan Grier; Patrick Warburton; Brad Garrett; Bill Hader; Hayden Panettiere; Andy Dick; Martin Short; Joan Cusack; Glenn Close; Amy Poehler
Directed by:
Michael D'Isa-Hogan

Around the midpoint of the unwieldy (and unwieldy-titled) Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil, Red, the plucky heroine of fairy-tale provenance, must cross a bridge guarded by a towering green troll. The creature has the plus-size stature and skin tone of a certain DreamWorks Animation franchise star, and if you think that's just coincidence, then I'd like to sell you this superspecial pair of 3-D glasses they handed me at the theater. I think $50 would be a fair price.

Hopped up like a kid on a sugar rush, Hoodwinked Too! tries to emulate the Shrek formula - mashing Hans Christian Anderson and the Brothers Grimm with pop-culture references and wisecracking anthropomorphic sidekicks. But without a real story, or any real purpose (beyond the obvious one of making money), the filmmakers simply, and desperately, pile it on, grafting high tech-y Mission: Impossible-style action and Kill Bill martial arts and mysticism onto the old storybook yarn.

Actually, while old storybook characters - retooled and repurposed - abound, there really isn't an old storybook yarn here. It's more like a comic-book quest adventure, written by someone with attention deficit disorder.

It's been six years since the original Hoodwinked! hit theaters, and hit pay dirt at the box office. Anne Hathaway, who gave voice to Red the first time around, has been replaced by Hayden Panettiere. There's been messy legal wrangling between Hoodwinked Too!'s producers and the Weinstein Company, too. And about a hundred other 'toons have come and gone, most of them funnier, and more inventive, than this.

Things start off with the abduction of two plump children in lederhosen - Hansel and Gretel (Bill Hader and Amy Poehler). The folks at the Happily Everafter Agency ("a secret organization dedicated to giving every story a happy ending") swing instantly, and ineptly, into action. There's Twitchy, the overcaffeinated squirrel (Cory Edwards), there's Big Bad Wolf (Patrick Warburton), there's Nicky Flippers (David Ogden Stiers) and there's Kirk the Woodsman (Martin Short), but there is no Red - she's off in the mountains of Tibet, training with the Sisters of the Hood.

It takes awhile for her to get back, and back in the swing of things. A visit to Dark Castle Towers, a creepy edifice reminiscent of the hotel in The Shining, might prove too intense for younger viewers.

There's nothing especially noteworthy about Hoodwinked Too! in its 3-D iteration - it looks like the usual after-the-fact stereoscopic retrofitting. In fact, there's nothing especially noteworthy about Hoodwinked Too! period.


Contact movie critic Steven Rea at 215-854-5629 or srea@phillynews.com. Read his blog, "On Movies Online," at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/onmovies/

 

Steven Rea Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
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