“The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature” may be a throwaway animated film but it isn’t as awful as you’d think. It’s another sequel nobody wanted, but surprisingly it’s not half bad.
Surly Squirrel (Will Arnett), Andie (Katherine Heigl) and various rodent friends, shallow characters whom nobody really liked in the first place, are back for round two. This time the evil mayor of Oakton (an amusing turn from funnyman Bobby Moynihan) and his obnoxious animal-hating daughter Heather (Isabela Moner) decide to terrorize the park’s furry residents and bulldoze the lush space to build a rickety amusement park, causing the animals to band together to save their home.
The plot is concise, the film is short, and everybody buckles down to quickly get to the point. There are plenty of lame kid jokes and some modern day sass lingo thrown into the mix (with nary a fart joke in sight for once!), but overall the energetic yet formulaic story is mostly entertaining throughout and at times, genuinely touching. This isn’t high art by any means but the wild antics, slapstick visual gags, and flashy action scenes should please most young ones and even some adults. Although one could argue that this sequel is half baked, it’s certainly superior to the original.
The low rent animation is ugly and the voice talent is mostly terrible (with Heigl and Jackie Chan sinking to the very bottom of the barrel), but for some reason the movie is better than simply ‘good enough.’ I enjoyed it in spite of myself.