This week Hop springs into theaters. Directed by Alvin and the Chipmunks‘ Tim Hill, and starring James Marsden and the voice of Russell Brand, this kids film tries to play both to adults and children alike. It’s also a film that tries to create a mythology for Easter – not one based on the resurrection of Christ but one that gives something of a history and plan for the holiday. Check our review below…

The Players:

  • Director: Tim Hill
  • Writers: Cinco Paul (story and screenplay), Ken Daurio (story and screenplay), Bruan Lynch (screenplay)
  • Starring: James Marsden, Russell Brand, Kaley Cucuo, Hank Azaria, Gary Cole, Hugh Laurie, Elizabeth Perkins, David Hasslehoff
  • Original Music by: Christopher Lennertz
  • Cinematography by: Peter Lyons Collister

The Plot:

The current Easter Bunny (Laurie) is set to retire, but his son E.B. (Brand) wants to be a drummer, so he runs away from home and into the arms of Fred O’Hare (Marsden), who’s a layabout who can’t hold down a job. The two become buddies, and eventually learn to work together, and both learn very important life lessons about responsibility.

The Good:

  • The Film knows it’s Silly: The plot is terribly convoluted in setting up all the back story to Easter, but there’s a lackadaisical air about the whole thing. Marsden is constantly worried about being discovered with a talking bunny, but when people do see the bunny talk they don’t seem to care. The film doesn’t try to take anything that happens seriously.
  • James Marsden: Though the actor is probably too old for the role, his boyish good looks have yet to fade, and his enthusiasm makes some of the film entertaining, especially when forced to humiliate himself, like in a musical number.
  • The Rapport: Marsden and Russell Brand are working within the confines of a PG plot, but the two do play well off each other, and that helps with the combination of CGI and live action. Brand is also funny in the role (for the most part), and his voice plays well off of Marsden’s exasperation.

The Bad:

  • Nothing Makes Sense: The film tries to set up the Easter Holiday as a big event in people’s lives and as a holiday. Though it’s good the film doesn’t take itself too seriously, that doesn’t help in sitting through a bunch of back story about the Easter Bunny. It’s all predicated on movie or sitcom logic more than reality, so it’s convoluted to the point of annoyance. There’s a job interview that exists simply so one character can have a musical number. Once that number is over, the job interview ends.
  • Takes Too Long to Get Going: Films like this should be short, and the film clocks in at a reasonable 95 minutes, but the start of the film sets up the idea of Marsden being an Easter Bunny. It takes an hour for him to start training to be an Easter Bunny (and that’s one of the best sequences in the film). It’s a great idea that would have made for a better film. And – as mentioned – way too much of that lead up is about setting up the third act in a laborious fashion.
  • Kaley Cuoco: An actress who seems to have learned her craft watching Jennifer Aniston, Cuoco plays everything like a television star, and seems to be waiting for the laugh track.
  • A Rabbit Poops Easter Candy: That’s much of the level of the film, though – again – it doesn’t even make sense in the context of the movie. It’s a poop gag.

Overall:

This is a movie for kids that doesn’t have the greatness of the best of Pixar or Disney, and though it’s knowing in its ways, it’s just not clever enough for parents to enjoy it. That said, it also never offends or goes so cute or repetitive that you’re that actively annoyed.

Rating: 4/10

Hop hits theaters April 1, 2011

Trailer:

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