2006-02-17 / Columnists


By Robert Snyder

In the absence of anything better, “Hoodwinked” is the best bet for young children. However, if you’re looking for the high standard in CGI fairy tale entertainment set by “Shrek,” you’ll be disappointed…as will your kids.

The Weinstein Company release is only saved from complete self-destruction by the voice of comedian Andy Dick who, at the film’s finale, transforms the seemingly innocent Boingo Bunny into the insidious Goody Bandit. The animators finally appear to be having fun with one of the characters, although they try real hard to get laugh mileage out of extreme sports fanatic Granny (Glenn Close).

The revisionist Red Riding Hood story takes the form of crime investigation. Red  (Anne Hathaway) is now a martial arts expert. The Wolf (Patrick Warburton) is a wisecracking investigative reporter. A debonair frog, Nicky Flippers (David Ogden Stiers), leads the criminal interrogations. The Woodsman (Jim Belushi) is not really a woodsman at all, but a slow-witted struggling actor.

With a total running time of 81 minutes, “Hoodwinked” takes forever to find any focus. Songs by co-writer Todd Edwards (brother of co-writer/director Cory Edwards) are lackluster, except for Boingo’s upbeat musical character revelation at the end.

Midway, the movie becomes a James Bond-type action flick, with Granny snowboarding down slopes away from an Arnold Schwarzenegger-esque villain and other bad guys. At that point, “Hoodwinked” doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be.

Will the kids like it?

Apparently. Although the theater where I viewed it was empty, the film was number five on the box office list after three weeks in wide release, earning $5.3 million.

Still, kids expecting the charm and brilliance of “Shrek” will likely feel hoodwinked.

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