(Rated PG) 3D and standard formats. 2 1/2 nuts (out of 4)
If anyone saw a purple squirrel in real life, it would be all over social media and have a special page dedicated to the nut lover. Until the aforementioned happens, if ever, we have an animated purple squirrel to ponder in the current CGI animated film “Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature.”
The film is the sequel to the 2014 original, and again features Will Arnett voicing Surly the purple squirrel. The film features Surly and his assorted squirrel, dog, mole, groundhog, chipmunk, and rat friends. Speaking of rats, Surly’s best friend is a mute rat named Buddy, and during the film we learn how the two become BFF’s. The plot of the sequel involves Surly and his friends having found paradise in a condemned nut shop, where there are snacks galore, leaving them with no need to forage in the city park in which they reside. However, when an unexpected accident occurs in the Nut Shop, Surly and his friends are forced to head back to the park where they used to forage for food. As if the accident with the Nut Shop isn’t enough, the mayor of the city in which they reside, Percival J. Muldoon (Bobby Moynihan), a cross between Boss Hogg from the old “Dukes of Hazzard” series and Donald Trump, decides there are several locations in the city which are not making a profit, so he decides to raze the park where Surly and company live and build an amusement park. After a harrowing escape from the park’s destruction, Surly, Buddy and his friends take cover where they can and devise a plan, with the help from some new mice friends, who are experts in the martial arts, to take back their park by destroying the new Liberty Land. In fact, the leader of the mice colony, Mr. Feng, is voiced by Jackie Chan, which is a perfect choice for the character. Soon all the animals who made the park their home, are attacking the rickety Liberty Land park, and chaos ensues. It should come as no shock the animals eventually bring down the amusement park, and play a pivotal role in dishing out justice to the opportunist Mayor Muldoon. As with most animated films you have the standard character types, i.e. the hero, the comedic relief, the bumbling sidekick, the romantic interest, and of course, the villain. In addition to the vocal talents of the aforementioned Arnett and Chan, other voices in the film include Katherine Heigl, Gabriel Iglesias,and Maya Rudolph. So needless to say, the characters are in excellent hands. The film features plenty of comedic moments, many of which come courtesy of the Muldoon character and his spoiled daughter Heather (Isabela Moner), who can scream and pout to perfection. The simple story of friendship and survival is a good one for kids, and thanks to the witty dialogue in the film, can also be enjoyed by adults. With a fun script, and enjoyable characters, “Nut Job 2″: Nutty by Nature” provides a fun time at the theater for kids and adults of all ages. Now if I could just discover a purple squirrel!