Directed by Tim Hill, Written by Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio, and Brian Lynch, 95 minutes, Rated PG.
By our guest blogger, Matthew Schimkowitz
Like the colorful candies of Easter, the latest animated Easter Bunny adventure—and more surprisingly, probably the first—is a pastel distraction lacking any kind nutritional value. Inside its foil wrapping exists an endless array of predictable jokes, aimless subplots and obnoxious characters.
“Hop” is an utter failure.
Director Tim Hill follows the formula of his last film, “Alvin and the Chipmunks,” and delivers another an anthropomorphic rodent musician and characters that eat his poop, literally—which seems a lot better than what he’s feeding us.
“Hop” follows the adventures of E.B. (voiced by Russell Brand), the son of the Easter bunny (Hugh Laurie) and next in line for the crown. Only problem is--wait for it--he doesn’t want to be the Easter Bunny, he wants to play the drums. So, following an argument with his father, E.B. heads to Hollywood to follow his drumming dreams and sidestep his lineage.
Meanwhile, in L.A., 30-something slacker Fred O’Hare (James Marsden) is also arguing with his parents about the future. Get a job they tell him, but, wait for it, he doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life. A chance encounter (Fred hits E.B. with a car) brings the two together, and they help one another fix their meaningless lives.
Between the script and the editing, the film is far too busy to make sense or provide any entertainment. Just when we seem to be moving in one direction (E.B. ruins Fred’s job interview), we’re suddenly thrown into another subplot (Fred upstaging his nine-year-old sister at an Easter pageant). The very mythology of the Easter Bunny barely has enough to work with—it’s essentially Santa-lore fashioned with Easter themes—so the three screenwriters litter their script with filler.
None of it makes a whole lot of sense, but it’s mostly harmless. Some of these plots, however, like Carlos’ (a Spanish accented Hank Azaria) worker’s revolution take some strange turns. The Easter Bunny mocks Carlos for asking for a promotion because Carlos isn’t a rabbit, but then gives it Marsden. Hill inadvertently makes a film that supports job discrimination, because neither he nor his screenwriters gave a second thought to the specifics of their script.
“Hop” is another example of a family movie gone horribly awry. Hill expects very little of his audience, and even less of his writers, putting whatever half-baked idea he has on screen, regardless if it makes sense or not.