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Movie Review: Hop

April 1, 2011

Hop – A Universal Pictures’ Release

http://www.iwantcandy.com/

Release Date: April 1st, 2011

Rated G for cartoon animation/action

Running time: 94 minutes

Tim Hill (dir.)

Cinco Paul (screenplay)

Ken Daurio (screenplay)

Brian Lynch (screenplay)

Christopher Lennertz (music)

James Marsden as Fred O’Hare

Russell Brand as E.B. (voice)

Kaley Cuoco as Sam O’Hare

Hank Azaria as Carlos / Phil (voice)

Gary Cole as Henry O’Hare

Elizabeth Perkins as Bonnie O’Hare

Hugh Laurie as E.B.’s Dad (voice)

David Hasselhoff as Himself

©Universal Pictures.  All Rights Reserved.

E.B. (voice of Russell Brand) in Hop.

Our reviews below:

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Hop Review By John C.

** (out of 4)

Christmas has been the subject of numerous cinematic outings over the years, but Hop is the first movie to openly concern itself with the Easter season.  At its heart is an adorable and appealing hero, E.B. (voice of Russell Brand), who’d rather be rocking out on a drum set than filling Easter baskets.  I found the leading bunny to be so entertaining, in fact, that he often manages to rise above the mediocre level of the actual movie.

When E.B. leaves Easter Island moments before his father (Hugh Laurie) crowns him the next Easter Bunny, the teenaged rabbit finds himself en route to Hollywood.  When looking for a place to stay, he ends up hit by the car of the aptly named Fred O’ Hare (James Marsden), a slacker house sitting at a mansion.  But while the bunny’s away, the chicks will play, and Easter is at risk of being upstaged by Carlos (Hank Azaria), a chick who plans to take over the egg hiding duties of the Easter Bunny.

The thankfully short scenes with Fred’s family simply don’t work, always seeming contrived and even annoying.  Carlos makes for somewhat of a strange villain, and Hank Azaria’s voice work isn’t quite as inspired as one would have hoped.  When viewed cynically, the whole film is merely an attempt to capitalize on the sort of box office success that Christmas-themed movies have enjoyed over the years.

But kids will love the headache-inducing amount of candy and bright visuals on display here, with the saving grace for adults being the delightful voice work of the generally reliable Russell Brand.  Even in uncharacteristically kid friendly form, he has a way of upstaging the script and making things funny.  James Marsden’s often exaggerated facial expressions usually work well alongside the animated lead.

Although a lot of the humour is geared towards kids, there are still several scenes here that will be fun for adults as well.  The best gags come from celebrity cameos, including a funny jab at Playboy and – my personal favourite – a welcome appearance by the excellent blues band, The Blind Boys of Alabama.  The Blind Boys provide the closest the film gets to sophistication.

Kids will eat it all up quicker than their candy on Easter morning, and adults who don’t go with their expectations too high might find it hard not to be at least somewhat amused and reasonably entertained by Hop.  For me it’s the leading bunny that makes this an okay Easter treat, just so long as you don’t take things too seriously.

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Hop Review by Erin V.

**3/4 (out of 4)

E.B. (Russell Brand) is set to take over from his father (Hugh Laurie) for the job of the Easter bunny – the problem?  E.B. doesn’t want the job.  He wants to drum in a band.  So, he runs away from a well-designed Easter Island to Hollywood to try to make it in the big city.  There he meets Fred (James Marsden), a slacker who is under pressure from his family to get a job and a place of his own.  When Fred accidentally hits E.B. with his car, he pretends to be hurt and guilt trips him into giving him a place to stay.  Back at Easter Island, a chick named Carlos (Hank Azeria) is trying to stage a coup with the other chicks to oust the Easter bunnies.

The stuff with E.B. is great – Russell Brand does a great job voicing the character and the interaction with James Marsden works really well.  I all round liked the character of E.B. and the scenes with him drumming (in various situations) are always cool to watch.  I liked the opening with (the adorably-animated) young E.B, and the opening with young Fred makes for a fine set-up as well.  But on the weaker side, the stuff with Fred’s family when he’s an adult feels tacked on to draw comparisons between his current life and E.B’s.  A little less of that and the film would have been a bit stronger.  Also, the stuff with Carlos feels kind of clichéd, and the Pink Berets (the Easter bunny’s royal guard who are searching for E.B) seemed like they would have had more to do from the trailers, than they actually did.

A little more of the rabbits, less of the chicks (although the little ones running around are cute), and maybe an 85 minute running time instead of 93 would have benefitted the film.  But although it is not great, it is good and makes for an entertaining time for families at the movies this April.  Overall, it was fun and I must admit on a certain level, I enjoyed it.

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Hop Review by Nicole

*** (out of 4)

There have been many films made about Santa Claus and his polar workshop.  Hop is the first movie about the Easter Bunny and his candy factory on Easter Island.  The film begins in 1991, when future Easter Bunny E.B. is just a kit, and his dad (Hugh Laurie) is still the main bunny.  One boy, Fred O’ Hare gets up really early one Easter to catch a glimpse of the famous bunny and his egg wagon pulled by chicks.

Twenty years pass, and E.B. (Russell Brand) has decided he doesn’t want to be the next Easter Bunny.  He would much rather play drums, so he climbs down his magic bunny hole and ends up in Hollywood.  Meanwhile, Fred O’ Hare (James Marsden) is heading off to house sit while his sister’s boss is away.  On the way, he accidentally hits E.B. with his car.  Confused as to why the bunny talks, Fred takes him in anyway.

While at first a nuisance, E.B. and Fred soon become friends.  But meanwhile, back on Easter Island, Carlos (Hank Azaria) the evil Easter chick wants to take over the holiday.  Can E.B. and Fred stop him before it’s too late.

I thoroughly enjoyed Hop.  It’s not Oscar material, but with Russell Brand as E.B. and James Marsden as Fred, it keeps a witty tone throughout.  There are also many surprise cameos here, as well as a clever Playboy reference for the adult viewers.  Hugh Laurie, (who also voiced Hare in the animated Little Grey Rabbit series), works well as E.B. senior.

Hop is a brightly coloured treat that both kids and parents can enjoy.  While it would have been nice in 3D, it is still a fun movie for both April Fools Day and, of course, Easter.

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Hop Review by Maureen

**1/2 (out of 4)

Far away on Easter Island is a special place where a team of hard-working bunnies and chicks make all the chocolate and candy a kid could ever want in their Easter basket.  Leader of the pack is Easter Bunny (E.B.) Sr. (voiced by Hugh Laurie).  Bunny son, E.B. Jr. (voiced by Russell Brand) is next in line to take over the family business.  Problem is, E.B. has talent as a drummer and he wants to pursue his dreams.

Back in Hollywood is another son, Fred O’ Hare (James Marsden) who is a disappointment to his family.  Fred is a twenty-something slacker.  His life gets turned upside down when on his way to a house-sitting gig he hits runaway bunny E.B. with his car.  Fred takes him back to the house with him so the bunny can recover.  That’s when the fun begins.  The best part of Hop is the dialogue and interaction between E.B. and Fred.  Marsden is suitably goofy and Brand’s voice acting and the animated look of E.B. makes his character really appealing.

The entire movie is as brightly coloured as a bowl full of jelly beans.  It’s meant to appeal to kids and overload their senses just like a basket of Easter candy.  The Easter Island candy factory is especially colourful.  The storyline is rather straightforward and takes a hyper-turn towards the end with the chicks holding a coup d’etat.  Fred and E.B. join forces to save Easter for all the good boys and girls.  Cue the choir to sing ‘I Want Candy.’

Kids (the younger the better) are likely to love this brightly coloured seasonal treat.  Grown-ups, especially Russell Brand fans will enjoy his E.B. character.  Most of the other human characters are rather flat, particularly Fred’s family.  I did however like seeing The Blind Boys of Alabama in a fun cameo.

Overall, Hop is by no means brilliant but as a seasonal treat, no worse than all the junk many kids will consume in the name of Easter.  Hippity-hop to a theatre near you.  Bring kids and find your inner-bunny.

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Hop Review by Tony

**1/2 (out of 4)

Hop is about E.B. (Russell Brand), destined to succeed his father (Hugh Laurie) as the Easter Bunny, from whose underground Easter Island factory sweets are delivered by chick-drawn flying carriage. Preferring a career as a drummer, E.B. escapes to Hollywood and ends up crashing with slacker Fred O’Hare (James Marsden), who helps him get an audition with talent scout David Hasselhoff. Meanwhile, the chick foreman (Hank Azaria) is attempting a mutiny on Easter Island.

Hop is technically good but not as inspired as Despicable Me from the same studio. Much like the first Chipmunks film from the same director (Tim Hill), it is harmless fun for all ages. Though the film is weakened by Fred’s family scenes, Russell Brand, James Marsden and “The Hoff” keep the comedy going well enough to amuse adults who take their kids and Hop would be a good choice for kids as an Easter DVD, if it is released next year.

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Consensus: Although the candy and bright visuals of Hop will be best enjoyed by kids, adults will appreciate the delightful voice work of Russell Brand.  The main character of E.B. is appealing, and adds just enough to make this a fun Easter treat. **1/2 (Out of 4)

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