If a terrible movie bombs at the box office, does anyone care what a reviewer writes about it?
We’re about to find out.
In the sequel to 2005’s Hoodwinked, The Weinstein Company managed to produce the ultimate anti-Pixar film: dull, ugly and devoid of humor. This is quite a feat considering that the original garnered praise for its wit and Rashamon-like take on a classic fairytale. This follow-up forgets the original, reinventing established characters rather than writing new ones.
The movie picks up where none of the characters left off. This time around, Red Riding Hood (Hayden Panettiere: Scream 4) has become an agent for the Happily Ever After agency, run by former frog detective Nicky Flippers, Little Bo Peep and a flock of sheep. Red has taken a leave of absence to follow in the footsteps of her spy-Granny (Glenn Close: Damages) and train with the Sisters of the Hood.
This Shaolin-style cooking academy teaches her how to make muffins and beat the flour out of enemies. While Red is deep in training, her partner the Wolf (Patrick Warburton: Family Guy) has become a loose cannon agent. His reckless antics botch an operation to rescue Hansel and Gretel, losing the kids and getting Granny kidnapped.
Now, the HEA’s only hope is to reteam Wolf and Red to get Granny back and save the day — if they don’t kill each other first.
The original charmed despite its low budget and ugly animation. Its clever writing and refreshingly fractured storytelling saved it from its production values. The sequel loses that formula and all the fun of its predecessor.
Don’t get me wrong, the animation is still ugly, but no thought went into creating the story, which is a straightforward, if stupid, tale of evil characters bent on global domination. Because of this complete 180 on the story, there’s little point to cameos from characters featured in the old storyline.
The voice work also left me cold. Panettiere turns Red’s spunk into a whine, while Glenn Close seems bored with the whole enterprise. Only Warburton, an experienced voice talent, attempts humor and genuine emotion.
Even the film’s core message is questionable: You can never accomplish anything unless you have a partner. Both Wolf and Red are incapable of completing their missions without help. While it’s fine to encourage youngsters to ask for assistance, the movie seems to argue that you’re incapable of doing anything for yourself.
Still, there were enough visual gags and slapstick humor to keep little ones giggling consistently, but adults will feel cursed by this enchanted mess.