Published 1:11 pm, Monday, April 18, 2011
Cleverly timed for the Easter holidays, this colorful combination live-action/animation comedy may divert youngsters, even though it is decidedly mediocre.
Hidden beneath giant statues on Easter Island, there's a wondrous candy factory run by the Easter Bunny (voiced by Hugh Laurie), who plans to pass the confectionary production and delivery duties to his irresponsible son, E.B. (voiced by Russell Brand), much to the chagrin of Carlos (voiced by Hank Azaria), a power-crazed chick. Intimidated by his daunting future and preferring to play the drums, floppy-eared E.B. runs away, via the Rabbit Hole Transporter, to seek his fortune in Hollywood, auditioning for a David Hasselhoff-hosted "American Idol"-type talent show after an impromptu jam session with the Blind Boys of Alabama. Meanwhile in nearby Van Nuys, an amiable slacker, Fred O'Hare (James Marsden), is kicked out of the house by his frustrated parents (Gary Cole, Elizabeth Perkins). His compassionate sister (Kaley Cuoco) offers him temporary shelter, house-sitting her boss's Beverly Hills home and feeding his guard dogs. In the driveway, Fred accidentally runs over E.B. who plays the sympathy card for his (non-existent) `injuries' and moves in, much to Fred's chagrin. The cheeky, talkative E.B. soon becomes Fred's constant companion, engaging in zany escapades. After all, they seem to have a common bond in disappointing their respective fathers. But the Easter Bunny's intrepid Pink Berets are determined to bring E.B. home to assume his rightful duties in time for the seasonal holiday.
Derivative of "The Santa Clause" and "The Tooth Fairy," yet blandly under-written by Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul (collaborators on "Despicable Me") and directed by Tim Hill ("Alvin and the Chipmunks"), it seamlessly blends live actors and CG animation. There's the jelly bean-pooping bunny and yellow peeps with "too much marsh and not enough mallow." And parents may be mildly amused when E.B. is refused entry at the Playboy Mansion although he assures a voice on the intercom he's a "sexy bunny."
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On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Hop" is a cute-and-cuddly, fluffy 5, filled with frantic, family-friendly bunny banter.