When I first heard about Nut Job 2 I realized I never saw The Nut Job (back in 2014). I immediately rented it from my DVR and laughed myself silly (with the kids of course) for an hour and a half. I loved that it was a heist film (a la Heat) but for kids. So when I saw that The Nut Job 2 was on, I knew it would be pushing the envelope enough to resonate with adults but be just fun and games for the kids. Boy was I right..
The Nut Job 2 has such a strong political agenda. Surly (Will Arnett) and his friends take on a sideways major who does things for his and only his benefit, like turn the town park into a shoddy amusement park to make a quick buck. He manipulates other higher-ups with intimidation, accepts bribes, and has such a strong opinion of himself he even has a favorite bobble head in his likeness that he cherishes. What he doesn’t cherish? The rest of his community – including the wild animals who live in the trees. He acts like a supreme ruler who suffers no consequences of his selfish actions.
Does this sound broadly familiar? No doubt writers Cal Brunker and Bob Barlen considered the current political state when deciding which angle to go with The Nut Job 2, and frankly, I have no problem with it.
I am not saying all politics are corrupt like The Mayor (Bobby Moynihan of SNL), of course not. There are several honest politicians in our country and the world, the only problem is none of them are in the White House….
But back to the movie. Surly is lovable and very street-smart except when it comes to mail boxes (are those even on streets anymore?) who wants what the rest of his furry friends want – to take back the park that is theirs. I mean, they were there first. And if we didn’t have things like squirrels and chipmunks we also wouldn’t have accidental trees from where they forgot to dig up their acorns. Think about it.
Surly meets up with an unlikely ally in Mr. Feng (hilariously voiced by Jackie Chan but don’t call him cute) and does the only thing “the little people” can do to defeat the big, bad Mayor – band together and forcibly take back what was taken from them. In my opinion they had no choice but to revolt punk-rock style. They had to “give it to the man” if you will. Katherine Heigl is Andie, the “come on, we can do this peacefully” voice of calm (she tries to sing and is quickly silenced, this is NOT that kind of movie). Her sweetness and attempt to make everything better is accepted by a couple of malleable critters, but is only realized in rotten dug up acorns. No thanks.
The Nut Job 2 also has an unlikely love story – Precious, who was formerly owned by mob guy Lucky; and Frankie, the dog of spoiled mayor’s daughter Heather, meet and eventually see bug-eye to bug-eye on their affection. One of the funniest parts of the movie was their first meeting, so watch for that.
All in all, I think most parents will enjoy it and all kids would love it. Look for the “read between the lines” jokes and decide for yourself on the non-pc-ness of it. Personally I loved it. Trigger warning – there is a near-death experience, so sensitive kids be warned. My son is pretty sensitive and he was okay with it (he’s 7).
The Nut Job 2 is in theaters everywhere today
Surly Squirrel (Will Arnett) and the gang are back. We are once again in Oakton where the evil mayor has decided to bulldoze Liberty Park and build a dangerous amusement park in its place. Surly and his ragtag group of animal friends band together to save their home, defeat the mayor, and take back the park.
THE NUT JOB 2 also features the voice talent of Katherine Heigl (The Nut Job), Jackie Chan (Kung Fu Panda 3), Peter Stormare (Penguins of Madagascar), Bobby Cannavale (Ant-Man), Isabela Moner (Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life), and Maya Rudolph (The Angry Birds Movie).
*I received complimentary tickets to see the film. All opinions are 100% my own.