Rated PG for some mild rude humor, 90 minutes
Humans the weakest part of the otherwise amusing "Hop"
Sometimes mixing live action with animation can work into a magical film like "Who's Roger Rabbit?" or a mediocre one like "Alvin and the Chipmunks." The new Easter-themed "Hop" takes on an age-old icon with mixed results, with the human being the weak link. "Hop" is a fun take on the Easter Bunny and while the animation is colorful, the voices are energetic, the humans are as bland as ever, with as much freshness as a week-old candy Easter egg. It would've worked far better without the stale live-action that simply drags this otherwise amusing film down considerably.
The movie tells of E.B. (Russell Brand), a teenage rabbit who on the eve of taking over from his father (Hugh Laurie) as the Easter Bunny, leaves his home in Easter Island for Hollywood to pursue his dream of becoming a drummer, and is hit by Fred O'Hare (James Marsden) an out of work slacker who was driving home. Feigning injury, E.B. manipulates Fred to take him in as he recovers. As Fred struggles with the world's worst house guest, both will learn what it takes to finally grow up, as Fred is pressed to partner with E.B. to save Easter from a evil Easter Chick named Carlos (Hank Azaria) who wants Easter Chicks to be in charge of Easter.
"Hop" is a mildly amusing, colorful take on the Easter Bunny that's hampered by it's live-action and a very very thin story stretched out over 90 minutes. If all of this seems familiar, it's because it's directed by Tim Hill, who did the first "Alvin and the Chipmunks" and the live-action-animated infused "Garfield," neither classics in any genre. As long as the animated characters are onscreen, "Hop" works OK, but when the humans come on screen, the film slows down considerably.
Marsden is a decent actor but he's miscast here; it's simply hard to buy the fact he's a twenty-something slacker and it would've been wiser to focus on the character's sister, played by "Bing Bang Theory's" Kaley Cuoco, younger, prettier and funnier. Brand, Laurie and Azaria all hit the right notes as the bunnies and chicks hashing it out over who wants to run Easter.
It also borrows too many elements from Santa Claus to be truly original. Kids will want to hop down to the theater to see "Hop," especially with Easter on the horizon, and the movie isn't altogether terrible, but it misses the mark more than it doesn't, and overall an unmemorable animated effort.
Wes's Grade: C