Once again, DreamWorks has created a hook, line and sinker. If you enjoyed animated movies like Shrek or Madagascar, then Over the Hedge will be sure to please your funny bone. With a posse of hilarious and loveable characters and an all-star voice cast, Over the Hedge is sure to keep audiences doubled over the edge of their seats.
Bruce Willis, Wanda Sykes and William Shatner are just a few of the voices you’ll recognize. Producer Bonnie Arnold, who also produced the animated classics Tarzan and Toy Story, works with directors Tim Johnson, who directed Antz and Karey Kirkpatrick, who is making his directorial debut. Musician Ben Folds provides the soundtrack for the film.
Over the Hedge is based on a comic strip of “RJ” the raccoon and “Vern” the turtle, created by Michael Fry and T. Lewis. The comic strip, which has been printed for over 10 years, is now making its big screen debut with Over the Hedge.
After awakening from hibernation, the animal gang quickly begins to gather food for the next nap session. Vern, the unofficial leader of the pack, constantly reminds them of the necessary foraging. The backyard posse consists of Hammie (Steve Carell) the hyperactive squirrel, Vern (Gary Shandling) the wary turtle, Stella (Wanda Sykes) the sassy skunk, the loving porcupine couple Penny (Catherine O’Hara) and Lou (Eugene Levy) and their children and possums Ozzie (William Shatner), the over-dramatic father and his daughter Heather (Avril Lavigne).
This “family” encounters a cunning raccoon named RJ (Bruce Willis), who has a week to repay a food debt to a very unhappy bear. He introduces the group to “suburbia.” With eyes bulging and stomachs growling, mama porcupine Penny declares, “Anything that tastes this good has to be good for you.” RJ explains that while they “eat to live,” humans “live to eat.”
The critters quickly discover what this really means. Although RJ’s tingly tail gives him an uneasy feeling, the rest of the group welcomes him with open paws.
The animal gang also discovers what it is to be considered a pest. Homeowner Gladys (Allison Janney) hates the foraging family and wants them out of the neighborhood. And what better way to do this than hire the “Verminator.”
Overloaded and fully-charged, the Verminator (Thomas Haden Church) pulls every lethal trick from his bag, including the “De-Pelter Turbo” to rid the community of its pests.
The movie has humor appropriate for kids and witty one-liners for the adults as well. Spoofs on the latest trends and technology appeal to the older crowd. One scene shows a resident of suburbia speeding down the road in her enormous SUV while holding a coffee in one hand and a cell phone in the other.
During a pre-screening interview, Wanda Sykes told reporters that it was “a joy to be a part of something for the whole family.”
“You’re gonna love it,” she added. “If not, I’ll see you outside.”
Fall in love with the furry critters of Over the Hedge when the film hits theaters May 19.
Megan Heron can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.