It is probably unhealthy that so much of our animated children's movie come from Pixar. It leads us to certain expectations of what makes a great film. We want cuddly cuteness our kids can relate to, enough wit for the adults, a positive learning message and something that tugs a little on the heartstrings. These movies are produced to such a high quality and are so good on a number of metrics that any independent features have a tough job to impress us. Which doesn't mean they can't. But THE NUT JOB isn't that movie.
This is a Canadian, South Korean production which shows in the irritating Psy-loaded end-credit. The handsome CGI animation doesn't push the boundaries of how one depicts animals and I found the orchestral score over-insistent. But the problem is really an over-complicated story - too many factions of animals, an over-complicated motivation for a heist. There are park squirrels and city animals and a shortage of nuts for winter and then something about breaking into a nut shop next to a bank and substituting the contents of the vault..... I'm actually getting bored now trying to relate it back to you. But even this could have been overcome had it not been for the lack of any real charisma or wit from the voice cast. We all know Will Arnett is funny, so why isn't he funny as the rebellious purple squirrel hero, Surly? In fact, if anyone steals the show it's Brendan Fraser as the grey squirrel Grayson, who has an over-inflated opinion of his own heroism. Meanwhile, Katherine Heigl is utterly forgettable as the love interest, Annie the red squirrel.
Overall, there's nothing to spark the imagination or move the heart in this film. It's well enough drawn but I doubt anyone would watch it a second time. One for the kids on DVD and that's being generous.
THE NUT JOB has a running time of 85 minutes and is rated PG. The movie is on global release.