• News/ 

    The Nut Job: What to Know About the New Animated Comedy With Will Arnett

    The Nut Job The Weinstein Company

    You probably won't go nuts for this forgettable family fluff about a squirrel antihero named Surly (voiced by Will Arnett). When the rascally rodent accidentally destroys his tribe's food supply, he's banished from their city park home and hits the mean streets of fictional Oakton. He and mute rat friend Buddy soon stumble upon the mother lode, a nut store, but their plan to ransack the nut sacks coincides with another heist, involving humans. King (Stephen Lang) has assembled a team of bumbling robbers to tunnel under the store and into the bank vault across the street. Before you crack this Nut Job, check out these five facts:

    1. Short Squirrel Tale: The Nut Job is based on director Peter Lepeniotis' 11-minute animated film Surly Squirrel (2005), which ironically doesn't include any nuts—the coveted snack is a pizza slice. An animator whose credits include Fantasia 2000 and Toy Story 2, Lepeniotis spent two years expanding Surly Squirrel into a feature. Though the 3D animation is a big step up, The Nut Job is chock full of stale gags and unoriginal characters.

    NEWS: Oscar nominees' best (and worst!) films

    The Nut Job The Weinstein Company

    2. Animal Magnetism: You've heard of muskrat love? Well, this is more like squirrelly flirtation, as Surly finds himself at the center of a rodent romance triangle. Sort of. Brendan Fraser graduates from George of the Jungle to Grayson of the Woods, voicing dimwitted narcissist Grayson. The grey guy is after sweet, nurturing Andie (Katherine Heigl), but she's secretly nutty about Surly, while Surly secretly wants to be like Grayson. Yeah, it's complicated.

    PHOTOS: Movies stars on set!

    The Nut Job The Weinstein Company

    3. Other Varmint Voices: The supporting cast features a pack of familiar performers. Liam Neeson, who lent his distinctive baritone to "The Great Lion" in the Narnia movies, returns to the animal kingdom as Raccoon, the duplicitous leader of the park. Ventriloquist Jeff Dunham voices a different kind of dummy—Raccoon's gullible henchman, Mole. Maya Rudolph gives bark and bite to the pug Precious, and Comedy Central staple Gabriel Iglesias plays a blockhead groundhog named Jimmy.

    PHOTOS: Movies from the future

    The Nut Job The Weinstein Company

    4. Psy-cho Nut Jobs: The film was cofinanced by the South Korean production company Redrover. Perhaps they're the ones to blame for the groan-inducing end credits, with an animated version of PSY performing "Gangnam Style" with the animal characters. Sheesh, what's up with this played-out popstar and nuts? First, he was a pitchman for Wonderful Pistachios and now this. His grating song and dorky horsey dance (even Mitt Romney is doing it now!) need to go away.

    PHOTOS: Stars at Sundance

    The Nut Job The Weinstein Company

    5. Fuzzy Flashback: The story is set in the late 1950s, but the film doesn't fully commit to the period and tosses in random anachronisms (see aforementioned Psy song). The '50s vibe is reflected in the robbers' Guys and Dolls-like suits and dialogue, and the frantic action sequences attempt to invoke a Looney Toons sensibility. But we're pretty sure Bugs Bunny & friends never resorted to so many fart jokes.

    PHOTOS: Totally new releases