Directed by: Peter Lepeniotis
This animated kids’ film is a cute, layered story about Surly, a curmudgeon, independent squirrel (voiced by Arnett) who is an out-for-himself kind of guy. He really isn’t so much interested in helping out the other animals that live in Oakton Park. Unfortunately, it is this self-serving attitude that winds up getting him banished from the park and forced to survive in the wilds of the city. Part of the issue at stake here is the animals are working in cooperation with watch other and gathering food for the winter ahead. Only there really isn’t enough food, and, as it turns out, Surly isn’t really interested in sharing what he finds with the rest of the crew.
Other members of the park include Andie (voiced by Heigl), who is soft on Surly, but is dedicated to the Raccoon who rules the park (and is voiced by Neeson), and Grayson a lovable, goofy, and heroic figure (who is truly more goofy than heroic and is voiced by Fraser), as well by a few others, including Buddy (a rat who is Surly’s only pal, and is voiced by Robert Tinkler). Once Surly is voted out of the park, Andie and Grayson (both of whom are also squirrels) set out into the city to find more food, only they are separated when a city rat steals Andie’s backpack which is retrieved by Grayson, but they get separated. Luckily for Andie, she runs into Surly and Buddy, who have happened on an amazing find. A nut store with enough nuts inside to feed everyone throughout the winter and beyond. Only Surly really doesn’t want to share.
In the meantime a quartet of humans are using the nut shop as cover while they tunnel underneath the street to the nearby bank in order to rob it. Now Surly and his crew need to break into the shop, get past the humans and their dog, to steal the nuts without getting rubbed out by the thugs (or the dog). Operating on more layers than most kids’ cartoons, The Nut Job turns out to be is a very cute. action-packed comedy of outrageous proportions and winds up becoming a much more complicated and hilarious adventure than anyone of them had expected.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing films for some 30 years. During that time, his movie reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular articles and movie reviews.