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Movie Review

The Nut Job

MPAA Rating: PG for mild action and rude humor.

Reviewed by: Emily Saur—first time reviewer
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Kids Family Teens Adults
Genre:
Animation Kids Family Adventure Comedy
Length:
1 hr. 26 min.
Year of Release:
2014
USA Release:
January 17, 2014 (wide—3,427 theaters)
DVD: April 15, 2014
Copyright, Open Road Films click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Open Road Films Copyright, Open Road Films Copyright, Open Road Films Copyright, Open Road Films Copyright, Open Road Films Copyright, Open Road Films Copyright, Open Road Films Copyright, Open Road Films Copyright, Open Road Films
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Open Road Films

stealing in the Bible

What is SIN?

animals in the Bible

WINTER—What causes the seasons? Illustrated explanation

Why do some animals store food for the winter?

What is wrong with being selfish and only looking out for ourselves?

What is wrong with being mean to others?

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: Will ArnettSurly (voice)
Brendan FraserGrayson (voice)
Liam NeesonRaccoon (voice)
Katherine HeiglAndie (voice)
Stephen Lang … King (voice)
Maya RudolphPrecious (voice)
more »
Director: Peter Lepeniotis
Producer: Gulfstream Pictures
Red Rover International
more »
Distributor: Open Road Films

“The Nut Job” tells a captivating tale of a group of park animals who are worried about having enough food for winter. The film opens when the main character Surly attempts to selfishly hoard some food for himself and his best friend, and ends up causing the park to lose all of its food supply. As a result of the disaster, Surly is banished from the park. After banishment, he finds a nut store and makes a deal with Andie from the park to split the food in the store between the park animals and himself 50/50. However, while Surly and the animals rob the store, the humans who own the store are making a sinister plot to rob a nearby bank. This makes circumstances very dangerous for the animals. Will they be able to survive?

The film starts with a lot of cartoon violence which persists throughout. Surly is very cruel to other animals and even vandalizes a bird’s nest. A Girl Scout is snotty and violent. A man shoves peanuts in her mouth. The criminals that plan to rob the bank fire guns multiple times and use dynamite several times. One human briefly chokes another, and there is a lot of hitting between animals. Surly hits his friend accidently with a spoon, and one smacks the other on purpose immediately following.

Fear of death is mentioned. One character threatens to kill another. A bad guy instructs his minions to kill some characters, and says “I will finish off our “hero.” There are some scary-looking rats that make slashing motions over their throats indicating their intent to kill one of the characters. One character calls a few others “worthless.” A bird gets hit by a truck and later gets flung into a room with cats, and the viewer sees feathers fly out of the window, indicating violence. However, if the viewer stays through the whole credits, he/she will see that none of the bad guys (except some rats), die although two of them are stuck on a buoy surrounded by sharks.

In my opinion, it would be best to leave young children at home, as the prevalence of violence may either scare them or make them want to imitate it.

Similarly, the bank robbery plot is very complex and would probably go over most children’s head. Also, one character uses resources to control some others, which might be confusing to children. My suggestion: children should be 9 years old or older before viewing this film.

There is a lot of “potty humor” and the humor poked at the passing of gas. One character narrowly escapes being hit in the genitals.

Multiple police officers are shown in a donut shop, which may be offensive to viewers who are police officers.

A brief scene of idolatry is seen when one of the characters bows in a worship position before food.

As for sex, there is virtually none in this movie. The only suggestive part comes when a saxophone is played when a woman enters. The camera starts at the floor and pans up, showing the characters” legs in a knee-length skirt. This may be tempting for some viewers and insulting to others. Two characters kiss. One character is swooned over and tries to get another to date him.

Now that the warnings are out of the way, I would like to discuss biblical matters in this movie. The main goal of the park animals is to steal from the store, and the Bible teaches us that stealing is wrong (Exodus 20:15), but we find out later the nuts were not going to be used by the humans. Also, the type of stealing the humans want to do is shown in a negative light.

Redemption is a major theme in this movie. Surly starts out being very selfish and mean, but ends up willing to risk his life for his friends. This, the Bible tells us, is the greatest form of love (John 15:13). Also, Surly says the world is for taking at the beginning of the movie and says it is for sharing at the end. This lines up with the biblical view of sharing (Hebrews 13:16). Surly has a complete transformation—rather like the transformation believers in Christ have after accepting Him as Lord and Savior.

The film could also be used to start a conversation about someone’s potential to be used for the glory of God. Surly was one of the most unlikely allies for the park animals, but still becomes selfless at the end. As Surly was once the enemy of the park but ends up helping it, so too were we the enemies of God, but can be used for His glory through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:21-22; Romans 5:10).

Overall, “The Nut Job” is a movie with a good message despite the prevalent violence and potty humor. I would recommend it to anyone 9 years old or older.

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

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—This movie has all the characteristics of a film noir: a voice-over, a hard-boiled leading man who gets his lumps, several seedy criminals, a gritty, 1950s urban setting, a beautiful “dame” (two actually—but one’s a squirrel), and an exceptionally complicated plot. If you like the genre, but don’t want the typical Hollywood sex and profanity, this is the movie for you.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Brian Schacht, age 67 (Canada)
Positive—This movie was much better than I thought it would be. There were only a few of the “nut” references, and I thought it would have been a lot more. The story line was actually good, and I enjoyed the movie more then I thought. I avoided it for a months, because I thought it was going to be so cheesy, but it wasn’t so bad. You rooted for the characters, the animals were cute, and the detail of the animation was very good.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Stephanie Smith, age 39 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—I sit through a lot of cartoons and kids’ movies, and I just found this one a bit dull. The story wasn’t as engaging, it didn’t catch my interest. Granted, I’m not the target audience, but it is one I would say you can wait until it is out on DVD. Other than that, an hour nap in a dark room, that is about what it amounted to for me.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 2½
—Andrea, age 41 (USA)

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