review for Over the Hedge on AllMovie

Over the Hedge (2006)
by Perry Seibert review

Howard Hawks once said that a great movie is three good scenes and no bad ones. Over the Hedge is halfway there -- it has two good scenes and no bad ones. The two extended sequences that fire on all cylinders are good enough to make the film worthwhile. The first of these sequences, involving Bruce Willis' raccoon explaining how suburbanites live their whole lives around junk food, strikes the perfect balance of social satire and savvy filmmaking. However the pièce de résistance is a two-minute bit where Steve Carell's hyperactive squirrel downs a caffeinated drink. The filmmakers have set up how they decide to portray this situation with such skill that the entire time it plays out any audience member should not be able to keep from laughing, and laughing hard. Every time Carell's character opens his mouth, the results are comic gold, and Willis as well as William Shatner deliver smart performances that walk the line of being self-aware without being condescending. SCTV fans will savor Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara playing porcupines with heavy Canadian accents. The animals are all drawn with big expressive eyes, making it easy to find them cute and adorable, even if the film has no interest in building a strong emotional arc for anyone other than Willis' raccoon. Over the Hedge is a solid family film that will not remind anyone of the Pixar films, but is far better than many feeble contemporary animated animal movies such as Shark Tale.