Published on April 1st, 2011 | by dvdpinson0
It can’t be denied that director Tim Hill knows cute and cuddly. He started his career as a writer on SpongeBob SquarePants and various other Nicktoons, then went on to direct the mega-popular big screen version of Alvin and the Chipmunks and the new Easter-themed kiddie flick, Hop. Hill’s movies are dripping with adorable characters and gleeful predicaments. But beneath the snugly facade of these films there isn’t much substance, making for an emotionally empty ordeal that is ultimately forgettable.
In Hop, we get a contemporary (and religion free) version of the story of Easter and the bunny behind the baskets. In a giant candy factory located on Easter Island there lives the aging Easter Bunny (Hugh Laurie). He has been at the candy slinging game for many years and is about to pass on his duties to his young, rebellious son, EB (Russell Brand). Unfortunately, EB doesn’t want anything to do with marshmallow chicks and chocolate rabbits. He is a dreamer who wants to be a rock and roll drummer and leave the hippity-hoppiting to someone else. He leaves Easter Island for the promising land of Hollywood where he is sure his delusions will come true.
After a failed attempt to enter the Playboy Mansion (where else is a bunny to go?), EB runs into an aimless man named Fred O’Hare (James Marsden). Jobless and direction free, Fred is a late bloomer that has many qualities in common with EB. The two form a quick and easy bond that keeps the film moving right along. Fred and EB encounter many precious baby chickens running abound and three personality-free bunnies in berets that know kung fu. Ultimately, EB and Fred must except their true calling and embrace their inevitable destiny.
Most of what does on during the film’s 95 minutes is humorless. There is one good gag involving EB’s ability to spontaneously produce jelly beans but that’s about it. The rest of the bits go nowhere. Marsden is serviceable as the human lead but is miscast. He’s too old and put together to be young and disheveled. Brand has fun with voicing the rascally bunny but isn’t given anything to do. His work in Despicable Me as Dr. Nefario showed that he’s well suited for cartoons. Hop does not tap that potential.
Young children will have a few things to giggle at, however, and most of the buffoonery is age appropriate. The film is PG but it is mostly harmless and a parent’s biggest concern should be whether the little one gets bored. A good family film is one that can claim to be “fun for all ages”. Hop can make no such declaration.