Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here.
I'm just putting this out there, so stop me if I'm crazy. Do kids really care if people like Chelsea Handler or David Hasselhoff make cameos in a movie about the Easter Bunny? Yeah, I didn't think so. From Tim Hill, director of such family favorites as MUPPETS IN SPACE, GARFIELD: A TAIL OF TWO KITTIES, and ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS, comes HOP about a slacker rabbit named E.B. (voiced effectively enough by Russell Brand), who decides that he doesn't want to follow in his father's (voiced by Hugh Laurie) back paws to take over the reigns as the new Easter Bunny. He'd rather be a rock drummer, which gives the film the chance to line of a series of embarrassing sing-alongs featuring E.B. on drums and occasionally singing.
E.B. enlists the help of Fred O'Hare (James Marsden, one of the few actors talented enough to play a role like this and appear to be enjoying it), a slacker in his own right, who is always falling short in the expectations department with his own dad (Gary Cole). So Fred and E.B. have father issues in common, but that's not all. Turns out, when he was a kid, Fred saw E.B.'s dad making his rounds on Easter Eve, and has ever since been looking for proof that Easter Bunny exists. How fortuitous for us all.
While those two have adventures such as job interviews and talent show auditions, things are not looking to great back on Easter Island (oh, did I not mention that the Easter Bunny's equivalent to the North Pole is...never mind). A devious fluffy chick (as in chicken, not a dame) named Carlos (voiced like a Mexican by Hank Azaria) is plotting to become the new king of Easter with his army of cute chicks. E.B.'s dad does his best to stave off being overthrown, but without E.B. on hand to claim his rightful place, there's little he can do.
HOP is harmless enough, I suppose, and even slightly subversive at times (jelly beans are apparently E.B.'s poop), I didn't get much out of the film beyond the bright colors and catchy, dated tunes. I wasn't kidding when I say Marsden is exceptional at selling this stuff. He just puts on that big, idiot grin, and he's got me hooked. I do applaud the film for sparing us by not giving Fred a love interest. In light of how the film ends, it wouldn't have made sense to have one anyway. (That's right, kids. Everyone dies!)
Brand is always fun to listen to, although he does lose a lot of his comic charm when you can't actually see his lanky self (thank goodness Arthur's release solves that problem next week). I wasn't expecting much from HOP, so on that level I guess technically it didn't disappoint. But the things I liked about it were few and far between, and as a result I forgot most of the film 30 minutes after walking out of the theater. I'm not even sure how I'm able to write about it now. Oh, wait. I'm not...
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