The Nut Job Review

The Nut Job will raise many interesting questions...as your mind focuses on anything except this plot.

If a pop culture fad appears in a low-grade kids movie, was it ever truly popular to begin with? Forgive the quandary, but this is one of the many questions adults may find themselves musing over while spaced out during The Nut Job’s lavish 86-minute running time. That and why did we ever care for Psy’s “Gangnam Style” in the first place?Distributed by Open Road Films, The Nut Job is the first theatrical effort from animation studios Toolbox Entertainment and Korean-based Redrover International, which attempts to adapt Director Peter Lepeniotis’ 2005 short film, “Surly the Squirrel,” into a film that features celebrity voices and cuddly creatures who do indeed ultimately bring the “Gangnam Style” dance to computer generated life. In short: Pixar, this ain’t. Set in American City U.S.A. roughly during the mid-1950s, The Nut Job is the tale of one persistently selfish squirrel named Surly (Will Arnett) and his quest to have enough nuts for winter. Despite his excessive scheming, he comes off as a repellently squirrely Mr. Potter who cares little for his park neighbors, including Andie the Squirrel (Katherine Heigl), Mole the Mole (Jeff Dunham), and Grayson (Brendan Fraser) the Heroic George Bailey of Squirrel-dom. Together, the other park animals have engineered a communal Savings & Nuts organization for winter spearheaded by the austere Raccoon the Raccoon (Liam Neeson), but it is all for naught when during Surly’s latest scheme to steal popcorn from a nearby vendor, he inadvertently blows up the autumn harvest. Exiled and abandoned to live in the urban alleyways of the city, Surly’s only friend is Buddy the Rat. At least that is until he finds a way to break into a nearby ritzy nut store with enough swag to feed the park for years. The con is on.The Nut Job is a perfectly pedestrian animated film that checks off many of the boxes that have been left on every studio’s spreadsheets since DreamWorks struck gold with Shrek. There are (dated) pop culture references to be noticed and celebrity voices to be admired for going cutesy. And for young ones that is not necessarily a bad thing. There is a decent message about not being so selfish and caring about one’s community, as Surly begins to think of his friends and the park as his own responsibility, as well as a hearty helping of slapstick humor and flatulence-based jokes that’s hilarity will be compounded with every year spent less on this Earth. However as a family entertainment, The Nut Job can be found severely wanting.