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Review: Open Season

Published September 28, 2006 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Columbia Pictures.
Open Season Open Season
The talking animal movie has become a worse Hollywood cliché than the buddy cop movie. At least with buddy cops, those are just vehicles for some comedian’s persona. Talking animal movies aren’t even about the star personas, even though they cast big names. They all end up playing the same characters in a boring, thoughtless grab at family dollars.

Open Season Review

In Open Season, a domesticated bear (Martin Lawrence) meets a pathetic deer (Ashton Kutcher) who turns his life upside down. He ends up sent back to the wild where he has to learn to survive amidst all the kooky forest characters. It’s always the same. One animal loves his easy life, but the annoying one forces him to venture out. The annoying one wants to be wilder, but his new friend has to learn to accept him the way he is.

For a while, they were just remaking The Lion King over and over. It was always an orphaned animal finding a surrogate family before retaking his rightful place in the kingdom. Now they’re remaking Ice Age.

Some are more tolerable than others. At least Madagascar had some funny parts. What passes for humor in Open Season is rhyming buck, truck and Chuck. Boog the bear dances like the hip African-American voiced animal he is. Throwing bunnies at the window and singing the wrong words to “Teddy Bear’s Picnic” are cute, but the deer poops on screen. Were they really that desperate? And can you really show that in a PG?

The music is dreadful. The one pop song sounds so generic, I couldn’t figure out who sang it. Every other song is a sad tear jerker. Even Disney has the decency to limit their movies to one downer song.

Every supporting character is trying to be Scrat or the Penguins or the green alien toys. The army of Scottish squirrels, the Beavers, the sassy girl skunks, the kung fu fish, the Spanish ducks and the blue porcupine. You know, those memorable characters actually serve functions in those movies. They’re not just there.

The violence is surprising. I don’t have a problem with exposing kids to massive amounts of violence, but it does seem a bit hypocritical to call this PG when you’re suggesting disemboweling, exploding trucks and shooting at all the main characters, but The Matrix is R for martial arts. I guess I’m annoyed by the condescension, not the violence itself.

It looks better than the Nickelodeon animation, or Ant Bully. It’s somewhere in between Ice Age and Ice Age 2. Crumbs on Boog’s fur look good. But lots of women look good too. That doesn’t mean I’ll marry them. Feminists, please forgive me. If we can put an end to these stupid CGI talkin animal movies, it will be worth the sexist remark.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Columbia Pictures.

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