NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

March 29, 2013

There's nothing 'Crood' about this polished cartoon

(Continued)

He’s got shoes. For your feet. Eep and Ugga go all Manolo Blahnik on those.

And Guy has a message, which everybody but Grug hears.

“Our world is ending.” The earthquakes and eruptions mean they have to migrate, to move on, because “Tomorrow is a place where things are better.”

The big lug Grug thinks “Ideas are for weaklings,” but he comes around, inventing the “long, slow trip across the country” that will “bring us together, as a family.” Right.

The animation is first rate, even if the cutesy critters bear the hallmarks of co-director Chris Sanders’ “Lilo & Stitch” and “How to Train Your Dragon” — wide, round faces, big cuddly eyes.

Another Sanders touch? Emotion. For all the (mostly weak) wisecracks about Grug wishing his mother-in-law dead, “The Croods” has a warm sense of family, responsibility and letting Dad save face.

And the actors are, to a one, dazzling — getting across emotions and delivering this very visual comedy’s verbal zingers with great timing. Cage, Stone and Keener are naturals at this sort of acting.

“The Croods” aren’t the Flintstones. But mercifully, they aren’t living in the Ice Age, either. That makes the movie about them a welcome 3-D cartoon, the first decent kids’ movie of the year.

THE CROODS

3 stars (Grade: B)

Cast: Voices of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Cloris Leachman, Catherine Keener

Written and directed by Chris Sanders and Kirk De Micco. A Fox/ Dreamworks release.

Running time: 1:33

MPAA rating: PG for some scary action

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