Tag Archives: Family Comedies

Puss in Boots

Voiced by Antonio Banderas, the dauntless feline of legend goes on an animated adventure to purloin a priceless golden-egg-laying goose. To help him on his mission, Puss brings along his friends Humpty Dumpty and the super-stealthy Kitty Softpaws.

Rating: 9 out of 10

This is by far smarter, funnier, more clever, witty, and fun than any of the Shrek films. Each of its unneeded sequels got dumber and dumber, which is why I ignored this spin-off completely. That was a huge mistake.

There were moments where I genuinely laughed out out loud. I delighted in the equisite detail of the animation and the backgrounds that drip with color in a Spanish-inspired fairy tale world. And I adored the theft of classic cowboy and Spanish films that no doubt inspired director Chris Miller (Shrek the Third). There is so much love poured into this film, and it’s obvious in all the detail that layers this movie over and over again.

And the performances are great, from the self-afacing Antonio Benderas, who is lampooning himself in the title role, to Salma Hayek, Zach Galifanakis and Billy Bob Thornton. It’s an awesome cast with a compelling storyline wrapped in a wonderfully crafted film. It’s one of the best animated films I’ve seen in years.

Gnomeo and Juliet

An edgy Shakespeare adaptation like no other, this animated musical transports the classic tale of forbidden romance between two star-crossed lovers from warring families to the unlikely yet hysterical world of garden gnomes. Featuring songs from legendary recording artist Elton John, this movie features the vocal talents of Emily Blunt, James McAvoy, Jason Statham, Patrick Stewart and Michael Caine.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Awwwe. Gnomeo & Juliet is so cute. These angry little garden gnomes live in neighboring English gardens and come to life whenever their owners disappear.

Just like in the original Romeo & Juliet, the two families are feuding but we don’t really know why. Gnomeo is a blue and Juliet is a red but when they first see each other they miss the color of the others hat and fall in love.

Things get complicated when they find out who the other is, but anyone who knows Shakespeare’s story knows what’s coming. Of course this is a cartoon about Gnomes so there isn’t as much sex or death, but the general components of the classic tragedy are there.

The story isn’t the only thing that’s cute. The animation is also unique and creative. The gnomes are all a little scratched and dented, which make them look lifelike.

I should admit, I boycotted the 3D version for the old-fashioned 2D, so I can’t comment there. But I don’t know that any movie needs 3D, let alone Gnomeo & Juliet.


Unemployed slacker Fred (James Marsden) suddenly finds himself uncharacteristically busy after he runs over the Easter Bunny and has to not only nurse the gimpy rabbit back to health but also take over his duties so that the holiday can continue. Burdened with a cranky, cotton-tailed houseguest and a bout of intensive egg-delivery training, Fred finally begins to grow up in this hilarious and touching blend of live action and animation.

Rating: 6 out of 10

“Hop” is cute. It does a great job of creating Easter folklore for the Easter Bunny like so many Christmas movies have done for Santa. But some of the charm of the great Christmas movies was just missing. I’m not exactly sure why.

Easter Island is as detailed as the North Pole. The chicks (baby chickens) working in the candy shop are maybe even cuter than elves, and everything is fun and colorful. Maybe an Easter movie can never be like a Christmas movie because Christmas has a special feeling or because I heard stories about Santa my whole life and those movies just brought it to life rather than trying to create something new. Or maybe “Hop” just wasn’t a great movie.

The movie starts out good as it introduces the Easter Bunny and his son, E.B., who is supposed to become the Easter Bunny on his next birthday. E.B. isn’t interested in dedicating his life to hiding eggs and wants to become a famous drummer. So he sets off for Hollywood and the home of the Bunny’s – the Playboy Mansion. After getting turned away by Hef he hooks up with a freeloader, Fred. There’s the whole part about Fred thinking he’s crazy and E.B. discovering how much fun it is and then how dangerous it is to be among the humans.

The end is where “Hop” really falls apart, though. It crams what should have taken half the movie into about 10 minutes and doesn’t really put an end to everything. And without ruining the ending, some humans seem to accept things a little too easily.