Cast: Martin Lawrence as Boog (voice) Ashton Kutcher as Elliot (voice) Gary Sinise as Shaw (voice) Debra Messing as Beth (voice) Billy Connolly as McSquizzy (voice) Georgia Engel as Bobbie (voice) Jon Favreau as Reilly (voice) Jane Krakowski as Giselle (voice) Gordon Tootoosis as Gordy (voice) Patrick Warburton as Ian (voice) Cody Cameron as Mr. Weenie (voice) Nika Futterman as Rosie (voice) Danny Mann as Serge Jack McGee as Hunter (voice) Michelle Murdocca as Maria (voice)
Summary: A twisted sense of humor and a strong voice cast make “Open Season” fun for kids and adults. It’s a great start for Sony’s animation studio.
Story: Boog is a full-grown grizzly bear that has been raised among humans by park ranger Beth. He has a warm place to live, all the food he wants, and is safe from hunters. However, when he crosses paths with the spastic deer Elliot, all that changes. Thanks to a series of misunderstandings, everyone believes Boog is dangerous and out of control. Beth is forced to release him back into the wild.
Once Boog finds himself in the great outdoors, he has no idea what to do. He gets lost, can’t find food, and is attacked by unfriendly forest critters. Boog is forced to rely on the idiotic Elliot to help him find his way back to civilization. But can they make it before open season begins for hunting?
“Open Season” is rated PG for some rude humor, mild action and brief language.
What Worked: “Open Season” is Sony Pictures Animaton’s first film and they really started it off on the right foot. It was great fun for both my kids and I. First off, the movie has a twisted sense of humor. For example, there’s a running gag about rabbits in the movie. They are quiet, speechless, and the subjects of a lot of abuse. They get thrown around by other creatures, they congregate and stare as Boog learns to poop in the woods, and they attack hunters with all the fury of a powder puff. Their random humor is the kind you find spread throughout the entire film and it’s what makes the movie so entertaining. “Open Season” also isn’t afraid to use gross-out humor, and I’m ashamed to say I laughed at it. In one scene Boog barfs Fruit Loops and fish crackers. In another scene Elliot suddenly drops deer pellets. It’s completely tasteless, but it made me laugh. Another scene where an audience mistakenly thinks Boog is mauling Elliot had me laughing out loud more than any animated film this year.
“Open Season” also has a really strong voice cast. I absolutely hate Martin Lawrence, but I loved his performance in this movie. His attitude and persona perfectly fit Boog. The same goes for Aston Kutcher and Elliot. Even if you can’t stand him in the real world, you’ll be surprised how well he brings the annoying deer to life in the movie. His over the top character on “That 70’s Show” perfectly fits a cartoon character. The supporting cast is also excellent. Debra Messing surprised me as Beth. Despite having limited screentime, she manages to add a lot to her character. Gary Sinise seems to be having a lot of fun as Shaw while Billy Connolly hams it up as McSquizzy, a Braveheart-like squirrel.
The animation in “Open Season” is also excellent. The characters are quite cartoonish, but the hair is realistic looking and the movements are fantastic. The body language adds a lot to the performances of the characters.
What Didn’t Work: The only time “Open Season” really drags are in the obligatory slow, weepy moments of the film where sad songs play. Unfortunately this happens several times. It seems like every animated film must have moments like these and they aren’t really necessary.
The Bottom Line: If you’re a fan of “Shrek” or the Pixar movies, I think you’ll find “Open Season” worth giving a shot. As an adult I enjoyed it and kids will most definitely enjoy it. My kids are still quoting the catch phrase of the porcupine “Buddy!”