This CGI outing is strictly for those with the a predeliction for the 'oh-so-cute'. If you're the kind with fluffy soft toys scuttled over your bed or can't pass a chubby lil tyke without pinching its cheeks 'over the hedge' is an fun and extended 'awwwwwww' routine. Those expecting psychotic penguins, megalomaniac ring-tailed lemurs to boogie to 'I gotta move it, move it'and funky donkeys could be headed for some major disappointment. But to give the movie credit where it's due, it doesn't feature any of those drawn-out, sappy romantic angles which tend to feel like the last fifteen minutes of an Adam Sandler movie. (Yup, those last few minutes where you shift uncomfortably in your chair thinking," Isn't it hiiiiiiiigh time somebody let out a thunderous fart")
'Over the hedge' has Bruce Willis lending his voice and cool to RJ, a smartass racoon with a tooth for junk food that lands him into trouble with a nasty grizzly (Nick Nolte) who gives him seven days to replace all that he has stolen or become bear-food. Meanwhile, turtle Verne (Gary Shandling) and his woodland family snap out of hibernation only to discover that they're surrounded by the suburban sprawl which has encroached on their habitat. RJ turns up as thier guide and guru into this whole new world that has ever so suddenly cropped up right next door, gets them hooked to junk food and tries to get the trusting, naive woodland dwellers to put together the bear's booty for him.
Unlike the funny asides and one-liners of 'Shrek and its likes, 'OTH' relies more on elaborate 'oops!' gags which are at the very most 'chuckle worthy' but not much more. For a movie which tries to skewer consumerism, junk-food culture and suburnban sprawl it is far too cutesy to pack a bite. And in what has come to be the minimum standard value that all American CGI movies incorporate there is an ode to the 'wholesomeness of the family'.
Visually, the movie is a delight to indulge in. The voice casting is pretty solid- you get Avril Lavinge and William Shatner as possums, Wanda Sykes as a skunk, Eugene Lavy as a porcupine and Steve '40 year old Virgin' Carrel who nails it as the hyperactive squirell.
Every attempt to make the characters as endearing as possible has been made and it is in that aspect that the movie is most successful. Lil chubby baby porcupines with wide round eyes and cute lil button noses- UMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMAH! CUTE AS HELL.
Surprisingly for a movie which has anti-consumerism on the agenda, you walk out of the theatre with a desire to barge into the nearest toy store for some soft toys.