Hop (2011)

Genres - Action, Children's/Family  |   Sub-Genres - Children's Fantasy  |   Release Date - Apr 1, 2011 (USA - Limited), Apr 1, 2011 (USA)  |   Run Time - 95 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Perry Seibert

Tim Hill, the director responsible for the smash hit Alvin and the Chipmunks, returns to waste another talented human cast with Hop, a CG-heavy holiday story about a slacker who becomes the first human Easter Bunny.

Sensing he's meant to stumble into greatness, twentysomething slacker Fred O'Hare (James Marsden) has neither the drive nor the willingness to take a job unless it's cool or worthy of him. This has driven his parents (the always game Gary Cole and the woefully underutilized Elizabeth Perkins) to finally kick him out of the house. His sister, Sam (Kaley Cuoco), takes pity on him and gives Fred the key to her boss' Hollywood Hills mansion that she's supposed to be housesitting. When he arrives there, he runs over E.B. (voiced by Russell Brand), a rabbit who wants nothing to do with his father's plans to make him the next Easter Bunny and instead wants to be a drummer in a rock band. Here is a good time to note that the cutest moments in Hop are the effects shots where E.B. rocks out with spectacular timing on a variety of songs. Here is also a good time to note that those are the only cute moments in Hop.

E.B. is on the run from pink beret-wearing mercenaries sent to drag him back to Easter Island so he can fulfill his destiny and make sure Easter can proceed as planned, but when a long-suffering underling wants to take control of the bunny's candy empire, E.B. and Fred must team up to save the rabbits and make sure the kids of the world get their chocolate-filled Easter baskets.

With his very funny work in Enchanted, James Marsden believably played a cartoon character made flesh and blood, surrounded and confounded by the real world. You would think that would make him an ideal choice to star in a movie like Hop, but playing a human surrounded by cartoons apparently requires a different skill set. Here, his wide-eyed, perplexed face and his pratfalls come off as hammy, probably because the jokes are so lame and inoffensive. Russell Brand, whose verbal dexterity is a large part of his charm, scores a few chuckles with E.B.'s elaborate word choices; however, by aiming the movie so strongly at family audiences, the filmmakers have scrubbed anything interesting right out of it -- Hop seems proud of itself for how bland it is. Even a beaten-into-the-ground cameo by David Hasselhoff is so tedious that you actually start to feel sorry for The Hoff.

The entire movie is so devoid of any original ideas that it has the Easter Bunny driving a sleigh like Santa in order to deliver sweet confections around the world, a creative choice that's not clever, cute, or really all that creative. It's just lazy, which is the perfect description of Hop as a whole.