Movie Reviews

Hop

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Rating: 5.5 out of 10
Movie Details: View here

Cast:
James Marsden as Fred O'Hare
Russell Brand as E.B. (voice)
Kaley Cuoco as Sam O'Hare
Hank Azaria as Carlos / Phil (voice)
Gary Cole as Henry O'Hare
Elizabeth Perkins as Bonnie O'Hare
Hugh Laurie as E.B.'s Dad (voice)
Tiffany Espensen as Alex O'Hare
David Hasselhoff as Himself
Chelsea Handler as Mrs. Beck
Dustin Ybarra as Cody

Directed by Tim Hill

Summary:
"Hop" features a cast that does the best they can with the material on hand, but ultimately the movie is for kids and anyone that liked "Alvin and the Chipmunks."

Story:
E.B. is the young son of the current Easter Bunny and he's next in line to inherit the famed role. But there's one small problem. He'd rather be a drummer than the Easter Bunny. The night before he's supposed to take his father's job, he runs away to Hollywood to pursue his dream to join a band.

Upon his arrival there, he finds out that making his dream come true is going to be harder than he thought. To make matters worse he's hit by a car driven by Fred O'Hare. Fred also happens to have issues finding a career. He still lives with his parents who have given him an ultimatum – find a job and get out of their house.

Fred and E.B. team up to help realize each other's dreams, but it's going to be a lot more difficult than they imagined.

"Hop" is rated PG for some mild rude humor.

What Worked:
I was going to mention in this review that if you liked "Alvin and the Chipmunks," you'd probably like "Hop." Then I realized that director Tim Hill was responsible for both movies. The two films are very similar in a lot of respects. Both have talking CG animals. Both have music and comedy. Both are ultimately more entertaining for kids than adults. So I think if you liked "Alvin and the Chipmunks," you're a prime candidate to enjoy "Hop." Hill found a formula that worked for him in the past and he stuck with it.

I have to give all the actors credit – they all put forth a good effort with an otherwise mediocre script. James Marsden is a decent comedic lead as Fred O'Hare. Though he's talking to an imaginary character, he gives it a lot of energy and enthusiasm. He does manage to generate a few laughs along the way. Russell Brand also makes a good effort as E.B. While his comedic talents are largely reigned in with this role, there are a couple of times in E.B.'s performance where you get the feeling he was ad-libbing. Those moments are where the character really generates laughs. And look for a cameo by Brand as his live-action self. Kaley Cuoco isn't given a lot to do as Sam O'Hare, but she steals the few scenes she's in. One scene where she mistakes E.B. for a stuffed animal is one of the highlights of the entire film. Then there's Hank Azaria as Carlos, the evil Easter chick and mastermind behind a coup at Easter Island. He gives the surly bird a lot of character.

My two sons who are 9 and 7 attended this screening and were absolutely glued to the screen. Personally I was checking my watch and counting the minutes until it was over, but I was happy to see them entertained. Your entertainment miles may vary.

What Didn't Work:
"Hop" isn't really a good film or a bad film. It's just a mediocre film. First of all, the funniest moments of the movie were all in the commercials and trailers. There are few laughs beyond the jellybean poop jokes and the scenes with Carlos trying to become the next Easter Bunny. I don't think I laughed out loud once during this movie.

Second, "Hop" seems really miscast. I think James Marsden is a great actor, but the role of Fred O'Hare is that of a young man still living with his parents, slacking off, and not finding a job. You think of someone that's in their early 20's for such a role. Marsden is 38. He's old enough to play the father's role in this movie. So all of the scenes that focus on him being a directionless slacker don't ring true. And in an odd move, they give him an adopted, Asian, younger sibling. There's nothing wrong with that, but it comes out of nowhere and it seems a little odd considering the ages of Marsden and Kaley Cuoco.

Third, they seemed to have trouble with the whole Easter mythology. They simply took the whole Santa Clause thing and made it Easter. Instead of the North Pole you have Easter Island. Instead of a sleigh you have a big flying egg. Instead of elves you have chicks. Instead of making toys they make candy. I was going to say it was almost like the writers dusted off a Christmas-themed script and tweaked it for Easter, then I discovered two of the writers wrote "The Santa Clause 2." Maybe this is more true than I thought. In any case, they had an opportunity to really have fun with the origin of the Easter Bunny and they didn't do anything new with it.

And in a movie about a talking Easter Bunny, they still managed to have plot holes and lapses in logic. For example, they establish that the Easter Bunnies poop jellybeans. Then in the scenes in Easter Island we see a massive machine spewing out millions of jellybeans into a jellybean river. So is this, like, the Easter Bunny sewer system and they're feeding their sewage to the children of the world? Then in one early scene they show the young E.B. very enthusiastically discovering that he'll be the Eatser Bunny one day. In the next scene he's older and wanting to be a drummer and wants nothing to do with being the Easter Bunny. His change in attitude wasn't a natural progression. The script also has one big problem – it tells the ending of the movie in the opening scene. So for the whole film you have a pretty good idea of how everything is going to end. The movie spoils itself.

The Bottom Line:
"Hop" is ultimately for kids and they'll enjoy it a lot. Adults will pretty much have to check their brains in at the door, sit back, and enjoy the popcorn and snacks.

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