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By Kimberly Sielen
May 19, 2006
PG for some rude humor and mild comic action
Voices of: Bruce Willis, Garry Shandling, Steve Carell, Wanda Sykes,
William Shatner, Nick Nolte, Thomas Haden Church, Avril Lavigne
Genre: Animated comedy
DreamWorks follows their tradition of hilarious
and family-friendly films (Madagascar, Shrek) with Over the
Hedge, an animated adventure which can be enjoyed by families with children
eight and older.
RJ (Bruce Willis) is a raccoon with a big
problem. If, in one week, he does not deliver a mountain of food to Vincent,
the bear, he will be eaten. Luckily, he stumbles upon a ragtag bunch of animals
that have just woken up from their winter hibernation. Led by Verne (Garry
Shandling), these friends must start foraging for the next year, but their
scavenging grounds have been radically diminished due to a mysterious hedge
(which one dubs "Steve"). RJ provides a simple solution to all of their
problems: they will cross the hedge and steal food from humans. Of course, he
conveniently fails to mention that everything they steal will go to the bear.
Understandably, Verne is wary of this plan. He
wants them to gather nuts and berries, just like they have done for years. The
other side of the hedge is a dangerous place for animals—the suburbanites want
nothing to do with wildlife, and will call an exterminator at the first sight of
them. So, when Ozzie (William Shatner) the opossum is spotted after a
"mysterious" streak of food robberies, Dwayne, the "Verminator" (Thomas Haden
Church), is called. These friends must think fast, or their lives, and their
little piece of land, will be lost forever.
Over the Hedge
contains some mild offensive content. There are numerous flatulence jokes, and
Hammie the squirrel (Steve Carell) asks various versions of "Have you seen my
nuts?" several times. Many instances of comic action occur, several of which
may be frightening for younger children. The most intense of these include RJ
being chased by an angry bear in the finale
sequence, which includes animals driving a truck, and an extremely dangerous
extermination device -- complete with lasers and a garden gnome statue -- that
injures several characters. Finally, the acts of vandalism committed by the
animals when they take food from humans are illegal. With the exception of
Verne, they do not see the harm in it, but later come to understand their
With that said, Over the Hedge contains
more positive than negative content. Characters learn the importance of
friendship and loyalty, even in times of peril. Pre-teens and teens will
understand Heather's actions (the teenage opossum voiced by Avril Lavigne) when
she has a hard time relating to her father, Ozzie. Younger viewers will enjoy
the banter of the porcupine kids. Overall, Over the Hedge is an
entertaining film which can be enjoyed by families with children eight and up.
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