Picks and Pans Review: Over the Hedge

UPDATED 05/29/2006 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 05/29/2006 at 01:00 AM EDT

With voices by Bruce Willis, Gary Shandling, Wanda Sykes, Steve Carell

ANIMATED

The heck with Mission: Impossible III and Poseidon. This summer's real action heroes are to be found in Over the Hedge, an irresistible comedy that will delight both kids and adults. So what if Mission's Tom Cruise dangled by rope in midair and Poseidon's Josh Lucas swam through flaming wreckage? The courageous crew of forest creatures that populate this animated treat must make their way across that most dangerous of obstacle courses, the suburban lawn. Sprinklers have never seemed so scary.

Based on a comic strip by Michael Fry and T Lewis, Over the Hedge is both smart and smart-alecky, a winning combo. A manipulative raccoon named RJ (Willis), making like the Devil offering an apple to Eve, proffers nacho cheese-flavored chips to animal friends, including a turtle, a skunk and a squirrel. One taste—they've been existing on foraged berries and twigs—and they're goners. They will risk their lives to follow RJ, who has a secret ulterior motive, over the hedge, across lawns and into newly built suburban palaces to get more. "You haven't even tried doughnuts yet," says RJ.

The film has a shiny, purposeful look and the main characters are all charmers. The voice work is spot-on, with Sykes deserving a special shout-out for her belligerent skunk. (PG)
[3 stars]

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