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Movie Review

Over the Hedge

MPAA Rating: PG for some rude humor and mild comic action

Reviewed by: Sheri McMurray
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Kids, Family
Genre:
Comedy, Kids Family, Animation
Length:
1 hr. 25 min.
Year of Release:
2006
USA Release:
May 19, 2006 (wide)
Copyright, Paramount Pictures
Copyright, Paramount Pictures
Copyright, Paramount Pictures
Copyright, Paramount Pictures
Copyright, Paramount Pictures
Copyright, Paramount Pictures
Copyright, Paramount Pictures
Copyright, Paramount Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Paramount Pictures

Should Christians be concerned about the environment? Answer

What is man’s responsibility to the environment? Answer

click for Kid Explorers
Adventures in the rainforest! Learn about the Creator of the universe by exploring His marvelous creation. Fun for the whole family with games, activities, stories, answers to children’s questions, color pages, and more! One of the Web’s first and most popular Christian Web sites for children. Nonprofit, evangelical, nondenominational.
Featuring: Bruce Willis, Garry Shandling, Wanda Sykes, Nick Nolte, Catherine OHara, William Shatner, Steve Carell, Eugene Levy, Allison Janney, Thomas Haden Church
Director: Tim Johnson, Karey Kirkpatrick
Producer: DreamWorks Pictures, Bonnie Arnold, Chris Kubsch
Distributor: Paramount Pictures

“Taking back the neighborhood… One snack at a time.”

Copyrighted, Paramount Pictures

Garry Shandling says he’s really a shy guy so this part helped him to sort of “come out of his shell” and his mouth muscles worked overtime on a scene where he chewed on a protein bar for about 20 er 30 er 50… 250 (?) takes until he got a line right. Steve Carell drank a power brew of 10 per cent coffee while the other 90 per cent of that java was sugar, every 30 minutes to get that “manic” feel to his character. Wanda Sykes does a smooth act as a no nonsense skunk with an attitude, which she says is mostly her comedy act, but weird to do as a monologue with no audience feedback. William Shatner does an absolute gem of a job as a parody of—himself! Then there is Mr Die Hard himself, Bruce Willis, who confides he had a hard time with the comic timing because of lack of a live audience response to the jokes. “Was that funny?” he would ask the crew after each take. No problem guys, you were all very funny!

They all say they’re very excited about this funny, bright and most times hilarious animal romp through suburbia called “Over The Hedge.” Carell’s five year old daughter thinks her Dad is especially cool now, because he’s the guy who can burp his ABC’s on cue. Willis is taking his kids to see it again in a theater, after the premiere, for that slot of family time. He says it’s really funny and you should see it more than once so as not to miss all those jokes that fly by. Surprisingly palatable comedy too, because “Over The Hedge” is not really all that “over the top.”

Full of wonderful realistic computer animation, “Over The Hedge” has characters you can relate to and have a fun time with. What modern kid’s animation flick doesn’t have “potty jokes” these days? This one has a few, but they are not as distasteful as many out there and it is kinda funny when a character burps and tinges the air a deep magenta. Also a surprising enough relief; the skunk doesn’t show her “colors,” which by the way is a predictable puce green, but only once and at a time in the story when it is totally expected. “Over The Hedge” doesn’t milk every scene for laughs. The humor is natural and the jokes are timed right and not squeezed out or forced on the audience.

So, here’s how the hedge leaf falls:

R.J. a starving citified Raccoon (voice of Bruce Willis) as well as a brash scavenger, tries to steal the enormous pile of junk food goodies that a big bear named Vincent (voice of Nick Nolte) has hidden away in his cave for his post-hibernation breakfast. As R.J. is in the process of slipping away with a little red wagon full of packaged human snack-e-do’s, the big bear awakes and the wagon rolls out of the cave and onto the high way where the food is destroyed. The furious Vincent gives R.J. one week to replace it all, including the red wagon, or else R.J. will be the breakfast!

R.J., very much a loner, needs some help. As he goes on the lookout for assistance he comes across a suburban smorgasbord evidently sprung up over the winter and also trips over some forest creatures just awaking from a long winter’s nap.

The smooth talking R.J. soon enlists Verne the turtle (voice of Garry Shandling), a sweet-natured porcupine family headed by Lou (voice of Eugene Levy) and Penny (voice of Catherine O’Hara), a highly excitable squirrel named Hammy (voice of Steve Carrell), a possum dad (voice of William Shatner) and daughter (voice of pop star Avril Lavigne), and an outspoken skunk named Stella (voice of Wanda Sykes). Their familial habitat has been shrunk to next to nothing as they slept over the winter, pushed out by 54 acres of suburban housing, dogs, cats and humans! This band of diverse forest creatures are a “family” waking up from their long hibernation, hungry and totally dumbfounded by the seemingly endless “thing” they have never encountered before—The Hedge.

R.J. arrives just as they learn that while they were sleeping, suburbia took over most of their woods. He tells them that this is very good news because people bring FOOD—and not just bark and berries. He introduces them to left over power bars, sparkling caffeine drinks and chocolate chip cookies—and, despite Verne’s best efforts to persuade them to be cautious, after their first taste of cheesy nacho chips, there’s no turning back.

As the story usually goes, R.J. is so intent on getting Vincent back his food supply that he winds up taking advantage of this “family” of naive woodland animals. They become so devoted to him that they nearly get themselves “Verminated” by the local exterminator in order to save R.J.’s neck. But, in the end R.J. comes to their rescue and learns that “Family” is the true gateway to the good life.

Rated PG for some rude humor and mild comic action. “Over The Hedge” is mostly fine viewing for anyone over age 8 and great family fare. By “rude humor” I mean there are references to nakedness when Verne loses his shell and Stella does talk about her “butt” and everyone KNOWS what it’s like when she does that “skunk thing” that all skunks do! Hammy asks if anyone will help him find his nuts (supposedly in reference to foraging for food…). R.J. in describing just how much food lies within the great silver cans in every driveway in suburbia, says these guys will find “food out the wazoo!” This movie will be a good one for families who understand the dry humor of the comic strip and enjoyed the likes of “Shrek”.

I am a sucker for animated animals, more of a sucker for slap stick and am, I gotta admit it, still a kid at heart. God meant for us to laugh. He doesn’t just want us to be happy, but He wants us to go that step further and be filled with joy. The light hearted antics in “Over The Hedge” might just get your family that much closer.

“Rejoice! And again I say… Rejoice!”

Violence: Minor / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: None


Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—My husband and I took our children to see this movie. We all enjoyed it. There wasn’t anything crude or obnoxious. There’s a good lesson about trusting your gut instincts and waiting vs. jumping into something because it sounds good. There were a few situations that will be a good chance for parents to discuss with young children about bullying and being bullied, stealing, and lying. These situations in this movie are not offensive, just worth mentioning. Our children understood the context and we didn’t have to explain. There is also an obnoxious human that places her validity in materialistic things and “who” she is, that is also taken care of. Overall, we enjoyed this movie.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 3
—T. Floyd, age 36
Positive—…I thought it was, overall, morally speaking, “GOOD”; it was funny; it was imaginative, and very creative. The jokes were fresh, the acting was better then average, and kids will LOVE it! Throughout the time I was in the theater enjoying my popcorn and my mega soft drink, I couldn’t help thinking that the voice behind “RJ” (the Raccoon) was non other than Bruce Willis. Aside from the Filmmaking Qualities, the reason why this movie was PG was because of some mild crude humor. There was no cussing but belching loudly and passing gas, were a pretty much all of the inappropriate situations involved in this movie. Overall, I’d give this movie 4 ½ stars!!!
My Ratings: Good / 4
—D. Robbie, age 35
Positive—My 11 year old daughter and I went to see the film last night. I mainly went as an “alternative protest” to “DVC” released also today. Our theater somehow mixed up the reels and part of the film was shown out of sequence but we still enjoyed it!! It was cute, the characters were likable and the overall message of “family” helping each other, etc. came through. It was one of the least offensive cartoon movies that I have seen in awhile. I did not detect any swear words, the only things I noticed that could be considered “crude” were:

1. The turtle character’s shell came off and you could see his green bottom, 2 girls in the film commented on it, when he stood up and realized his shell was off he covered his front part (but there was nothing there to cover)… I actually saw that as a positive thing, he was being modest!!! more »
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—DeAnne Rogan, age 47
Positive—All I can say is WOW—I spent the entire length of the movie in stitches. The characters were wonderful and humorous, and the plot was alive, interesting, and intriguing. I would go see this movie again in a minute! The only objectionable content that I noticed were a couple of crude jokes by the squirrel about his “nuts” (eliciting laughter from the adults and teenagers in the theater), and a bit of silly romantic humor between the skunk and the cat—but nothing that would be so wrong as to stop you from taking your kids to enjoy this great movie! Any “rude humor” that is in the movie would likely go right over any child’s head. This was a wonderful movie, and one that I would definitely recommend to add to your DVD collection as soon as it is available!
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—Maria, age 18
Positive—Overall, this movie was very entertaining. I laughed out loud many times, and that’s really rare for me. There were good messages of working together, friendship and loyalty. It also showed the shortcomings of jumping into line with the latest and the greatest loud mouth that comes along.

There was a point that I assumed we were going to get another movie about animal rights. I recall turning to my wife and saying, “Yep, here we go.” Fortunately that was not an over-riding theme. more »
My Ratings: Average / 4
—Steve Schmidt, age 38
Positive—I took my wife and two boys to this movie. We not only enjoyed the movie, we found ourselves laughing for days after we saw it. I have seen numerous animated movies with my young children, but I cannot remember a time that I have found myself laughing this hard this many times. What was even more enjoyable was the fact that I wasn’t the only one laughing that hard. My family and the entire theater were laughing with great delight. I would definitely recommend this movie and know that we will be adding it to our movie collection.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Chris McCoy, age 28
Positive—This movie was wonderful. I read the negative comments, but honestly cannot identify with any of them. This movie is full of positive messages. The animals took food from the humans, but only because they were being forced to. Upon emerging from hibernation they found that the area in which they lived was shrinking—being replaced by subdivisions, and there was little food. This is what animals, especially raccoons, do in real life! RJ, the raccoon is the more “people-wise” of the creatures and leads the naive foragers into pillaging the humans. Though he is selfish, he eventually turns around, because he loves his new friends. There is nothing in the least inappropriate in the scene with the skunk. The little skunk talks to the cat, and they get to know each other—very sweet!

My favorite part of this film is Hammy, a sweet little hyper squirrel. All the characters are adorable and make you want to pinch them, but Hammy is just a lovebug. He is the reason I had to go again to see the film with my eight year old little boy who missed it the first time we went. Hammy is hyperactive and isn’t allowed by RJ to have soda—“The last thing you need, my friend, is caffeine.” My little boy is also energetic and this made him laugh, and also feel a bit better about times he isn’t allowed to have soda. I really recommend this movie, I know your family will love it as much as we did.
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Jennifer Smith, age 35
Positive—This was a wonderful movie on a number of levels. Our 12 and 10 year old loved the story. My wife and I had tears from the laughter. The scene with the whole dog/grill/chase/explosion was the best. The movie had numerous good moral messages. The most convicting was the whole impression of the suburbs and how we live. It held a mirror to just how self centered and spoiled we have become. RJ has a great comment on life in the suburbs. Listen also to the end credits song, “Rock’in the Suburbs.” As a Christian, hopefully it will jar many into reconsidering what our purpose really is on this Earth. The second issue is that enough is never enough. RJ and the rest could not stop feeding their desires/addictions once they got started. Were they really any happier now that they were consumed by their wants? Look what they were willing to risk for one more item. I took a different perspective from a prior post regarding the family issue.

I looked at this from a church perspective in that we in the church are all one family. I saw this little band of animals as a small church. They communed with one another and sadly were misled by a con-man who distracted their focus. But they held together as a family, returning to their primary focus in the end. In fact, they even convinced others to join them. Hopefully, it is not too much of a stretch, but in the church we follow the same path, we are family, care for each other and at times are misled in our congregations. However, we hang together and get it right with God’s help. Lastly, the message that those around us will bring out the best in us. This happened repeatedly in the story, the most prominent was the transformation of the skunk. more »
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4
—Brad Stevens, age 46
Positive—“Over the Hedge” was an awesome movie, the music is so inspiring, and the graphics were top-notch. The characters were funny and lovable, even though they clearly have a few flaws. Verne’s shell humor didn’t particularly offend me, but it might offend others. RJ learns that family and love is more important than lying and cheating. Stella does try to “seduce” a cat at one point, but it never gets dirty, other than what adults might have in their heads.

I didn’t think of the animals as thieves, they were just foragers. It’s not like they can go into a grocery store or sit in a restaurant and eat, like humans can. The evil people in the movie were pretty bad and it reminds me of when God made the animals right after Adam and gave stewardship of animals and natural resources to humanity. Clearly, Wayne and Gladys were being bad stewards, but I didn’t see this in too many other human characters. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Peter, age 22 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—…a very family friendly movie.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—John Mcrudeth, age 34
Negative
Negative—…I just got home from seeing “Over The Hedge” with my daughter and my sister. I was shocked at how Hollywood used a film geared towards younger audiences as political propaganda. Animals in this film were portrayed as loving, caring, and in my opinion superior to humans. Humans were demonized for building a development of homes in a wooded area. It seemed as though the Earth Liberation Front endorsed this segment! The human family was portrayed as being greedy, socially irresponsible, cruel and uncaring. Wow, the humans were seen gathered around a table with heads bowed in prayer. The animals explained that they were “worshiping around the altar of food.” One line I remember was that “We (the animals) eat to live, whereas the humans live to eat,” thus labeling humans as gluttons. The animals saw a vehicle, and it was explained to them that it was “an SUV” when the question arose as to how many humans travel together in this large vehicle, the answer was…“usually one.” So, humans again were bashed for being environmentally careless. I couldn’t help but wonder, does Bruce Willis not drive a vehicle, and own a home?? I’ve come to the conclusion that the Hollywood elite like to condemn us for what we think and do, and somehow they are untouchable and beyond the frey. All in all this was a disturbing, transparent attempt to steer young minds onto the liberal, paganistic, Earth-worshiping track of thought that has apparently got a stronghold in the hearts and minds of the Hollywood crowd. Do yourself a favor and rent a good uplifting Christian movie for your family.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 3
—Chris Notaro, age 41
Negative—I took my 2 sons to see this movie and was disappointed. The bear was pretty fierce and threatened repeatedly to kill the raccoon, using that word several times. Desensitization begins early! The humans were portrayed as stupid and mean, while the animals were smart and lovable. God defines family as a husband, wife and children. This movie reinforces the current cultural propaganda that a family is made up of whoever moves into the house. There were several mild expletives, but then, curse words are curse words, no matter how mild. It could have been a good movie, but was ruined by pushing the line too far. We won’t see it again.
My Ratings: Offensive / 3
—Melinda, age 41
Negative—My entire family did not enjoy the movie at all. We were very disappointed with the crude comments and the minimal values displayed.
My Ratings: Offensive / 3
—Tina, age 40
Negative—…we took our family to see this film. The beginning of this movie is VERY offensive. The part with the bear and raccoon is overdone and the bear, in a scary way, threatens to kill the raccoon… more than once. The animal children become disrespectful to their parents, The raccoon repeatedly shows and instills greed in the other animals (except the turtle). The exterminator goes unpunished for knowingly selling something illegal. The movie does talk about the importance of family, but it’s more of a “worldly” village mentality than a Biblical perspective. They use one of the female animals to seduce another animal and I can never recall the movie saying it was wrong to steal all of the stuff they did… again except the turtle… but then at the end of the movie he apologizes for ever trying to return the loot! For an adult, this was probably a funny movie, but not for the family.
My Ratings: Offensive / 4
—Laurie, age 31
Negative—Overall, the movie was entertaining and our 5 and 8 year old boys very much enjoyed the movie. There is one aspect of the movie though that really bothers me, and if I had known about this I would have thought twice about watching this in the theaters (in a home setting on DVD it’s easier to talk about moral aspects). I’m actually surprised that nobody else mentioned this. (Warning: there may be some spoilers in this review.)

The movie is based on the premise of the animals stealing. First, the main character steals from the bear. Then he needs to replace the stolen food so he starts stealing from humans. He eventually gets a “family” of animals to all steal for him. At first it seems innocent enough—the main character needs to steal to save his life, and the animals need to steal to get food. But the animals steal all kinds of things—TVs, video games, recliner chairs, etc.—and all enjoy the benefits. The closest the movie ever gets to having any character feel any sense of remorse is the turtle trying to bring all the things back to “get things back to the way they were” and avoid the humans trying to hunt down the animals. But even this isn’t remorse. And all the other animals were very upset of the attempt and all sided with continued stealing.
My Ratings: Offensive / 4
—John J., age 38
Negative—This movie is subtle seed planting by anti-Christians. Go to the official site for the movie and watch the clips you may have missed at the theater. Did you all miss the following?
#1) the turtle “Vern” says “It’s not like he (RJ) can walk on water or anything!” RJ proceeds to walk over the water in the pool. I take offense to Jesus being mocked in a children’s film.
#2) Catholics may take great offense to RJ’s comment “the altar where they worship the food.”
#3) The Steve scene is an abomination—one animal bows down in worship to “the hedge”…
In addition to this, there is a place on the site to see what is in RJ’s golf bag, and there is a VooDoo doll in it. Isaiah 45:23—for every knee shall be bowed to me. This is an offensive movie; get the cute fuzzy animal stuff out of your heads and judge this movie by it’s content.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 1
—Constantine, age 20
Comments from young people
Positive—What a hysterical movie. I love movies like this, and I took my little brother to go see it. Both of us (including many other teens and adults in the theater) were CRACKING up. Just a great clean family friendly movie that everyone can laugh at.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—Tim Whitaker, age 17
Positive—I thought this film would be very silly. But, in the end I had so much fun watching it. I laughed through the whole movie! It’s based on very good character. It teaches us that family is very important.
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Nikki, age 14
Positive—I went to see this movie with a younger sister and a group of her friends. We all loved the movie. There was absolutely nothing bad or offensive in it, and it was just plain funny! I might not recommend parents to bring kids age five or under, as there were a few scenes with a bear threatening to eat the animals that might frighten them. But I would definitely say that any one from older children up will have a terrific time at this squeaky clean movie.
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Kira Williams, age 15
Positive—Okay, I saw this with my friend, and it was wonderful! It was hilarious, and I caught no weird meanings of sex, or anything else! It was a GOOD CLEAN MOVIE!!! I loved it, and I am almost 13! Reminded me of Madagascar! Bring your kids! if you wanna see a good wholesome family movie!
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Brittany, age 12
Positive—The movie was great! there was nothing wrong with it. The cast was funny. The best two was Hammy and R.J. It had a good storyline. Me and my Brother went to go see it with my dad. But there was this one part where it was rude, but other than that, the movie was clean.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Jacob Stinson, age 11
Positive—I went to see this movie with my Mom and my sister and we enjoyed it.
My Ratings: Good / 3
—Evan, age 13
Positive—This movie was awesome! I saw it with my mom, dad, and two younger sisters. The movie didn’t have a lot of moral, but it didn’t have nearly anything bad in it. It was just a normal story filled with good humor and fun! I recommend to go see it.
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Kailey, age 12
Positive—At first,I thought this movie would be lame, but I found it was wonderful! I thought it was very clean, unlike most movies I’ve seen lately. Hammy the squirrel is very funny! I love how important family is in this movie. There are a few crude comments, but they are tame. This movie is very cute and funny, even for older kids! Please, don’t miss Over the Hedge!
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Elizabeth, age 12
Positive—Excellent movie—went with my dad. Funny. For the mom who was freaking out because of the bear. FYI bears eat raccoons GET OVER IT (he doesn’t eat the raccoon in the movie). And the way they portrayed the family was good. The family is a pack of animals, not husband, wife, son… I was not offended by that part of the movie. …
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Adam, age 13
Positive—Well, this movie is super funny, I recommend to every body. It doesn’t have violence; it is a kids movie. It is funny to the max; if you need a laugh see this movie. …
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Pamela, age 11
Positive—An extremely enjoyable movie. Great animation, exaggeration, etc. … Overall, it’s the best out of Dreamworks, I think.
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Stephan, age 15
Positive—I laughed myself to tears when I saw this movie. My expectations weren’t too high, after all, it is a cartoon, but after I saw it I proclaimed to my friend that it was the best cartoon I’d seen in forever. She promptly agreed. The movie has humor for both kids (only a few seats down three eight year olds were rolling on the floor, literally, laughing) and teenagers (speaking for myself and my friend. I’m sure that adults will enjoy it, also. The film has good messages and good, clean comedy. There was absolutely nothing offensive, and I recommend it to ALL ages.
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Kay, age 15
Positive—Wow, this was not the greatest movie, but there should not be a single negative comment here. I read one person said there was a voodoo doll in RJ’s bag when it was just a Troll doll. I do not think anything in this movie was a mockery of the Lord. The animals stole but come on they are ANIMALS, not people. …
My Ratings: Better than Average / 3
—Nick Riportella, age 15
Positive—I saw this movie with two 11 year olds, one ten year old, one nine year old, and even a 5 year old. We had a lot of fun, and didn’t find anything too offensive. We still repeat lines from this movie, as we found it absolutely hilarious! I would definitely recommend this as a family film.
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Madeline, age 13
Positive—This was a good, fun film. The message is that enough, IS enough. We don’t need a million different possessions. “Over the Hedge” was fun and entertaining, it wasn’t as good as “Shrek” or “Wallace and Gromit,” but it was good. There was nothing morally offensive in it, I really think people on this site sometimes try too hard to find something inappropriate about a movie. Check “Over the Hedge” out with your kids, and you’ll have a good time.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 3
—Caleb, age 16
Positive—This movie was great! Very cute and fun to watch! I loved all of the characters, and especially how they forgave one another and helped each other in spite of their differences or mistakes. I would recommend this for anyone of any age. It was SO worth seeing in theaters.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—Kitty, age 13
Negative—Although it was funny, humorous, cute, entertaining, and the raccoon found a family, there was bad stuff. I did not like that the raccoon was very greedy. The raccoon lied to his fellow animals to get them to steal from the humans so that he could repay the bear. The raccoon almost got the other animals killed while they stole food and other things. I also didn’t like that the raccoon didn’t do any of the stealing—rather he made the others steal. I was infuriated when the raccoon said we worship food. This is not a Christian movie!!!
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 4
—Caleb, age 12

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