Picks and Pans Review: Ice Age: the Meltdown

UPDATED 04/10/2006 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 04/10/2006 at 01:00 AM EDT

Voices by Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Queen Latifah

ANIMATED

There's something splendidly Sisyphian about the perpetually thwarted efforts of Scrat, a squirrel, to grab hold of an acorn in Ice Age: The Meltdown. Time after time, the furry fellow has a nut within his grasp, only to see it slip from his claws yet again. How better to introduce kids to the concept of life's ultimate futility?

Scrat's continuing battles with the acorn are the highlight of an uninspired sequel that otherwise is mostly marking time. A follow-up to the 2002 hit, Meltdown again follows the adventures of Manny (voiced by Romano), a kindly wooly mammoth; Diego (Leary), a cynical saber-toothed tiger; and Sid (Leguizamo), a loquacious sloth. This time, with the Ice Age ending, the trio, joined by a female mammoth (Latifah) and her two adopted, hyperactive possum brothers, embark on an arduous journey to escape the coming flood. Meltdown meanders along, with each critter getting time in the spotlight, but the whole thing has a pro forma feel. It would be perfectly okay if, with the exception of Scrat, these guys became extinct after this. (PG)

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