Over the Hedge (2006) voices Bruce Willis, Garry Shandling, Steve Carell, Wanda Sykes, William Shatner directed by Tim Johnson, Karey Kirkpatrick Movie Review

Over the Hedge (2006)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Over the Hedge (2006)

Hedging Your Bets

RJ the roguish raccoon finds himself in trouble when he attempts to steal a sleeping bear's food supply only for it to end up destroyed in the process. With only a week to replace the food before the bear comes after him RJ heads for suburbia where he comes across a group of animals fresh from hibernation who are looking to enter suburbia. Thinking he can use them to his advantage RJ and the gang start their raids but the groups leader Verne locks horns with RJ especially when their actions lead to trouble and they are going to have to find a way to work together.

So I am told that "Over the Hedge" is kind of inspired by characters from a comic strip. I've never seen the comic strip and so don't know how much of the comic strip makes it to screen and how much is actual animation house just using the recognizable characters. Recognizable is really the key here because this Dreamworks animation ends up feeling very recognizable, almost a bit déjà vu at times and that is because we have a familiar theme with two leaders locking horns and then having to join forces which "Toy Story" covered over a decade earlier. Of course "Over the Hedge" is different to "Toy Story" as we have wild creatures instead of toys, although wild creatures in animations are familiar right off the bat. Plus we have RJ trying to use Verne and his gang because he owes a bear some food. But the way Verne and RJ are rivals and how the gang look up to RJ the new cool guy is all extremely typical and dare I say familiar.

But what "Over the Hedge" has going for it is that it is a family movie instead of just a children's animation. That means for every visual gag which makes a child work there is usually something a little bit more clever for grown ups. That added adult extra makes all the difference especially with the smart casting of Bruce Willis as RJ especially in the various scenes where we have something akin to some "Die Hard" action.

What this all boils down to is that "Over the Hedge" works as it entertains both adults and children with a nice mix of comedy. But at the same time it is all a little familiar with a familiar theme behind all the comedy.