“Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway”

“Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway” is the very definition of a “family movie.” This amusing adventure featuring the beloved characters from Beatrix Potter’s noted children’s books has something everyone can enjoy. If you’re a fan of Peter and the gang, you’ll appreciate the film’s modern spin that stays true to the original characters.

Bea (Rose Byrne) has married Thomas McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson), despite Peter’s best efforts to stop the wedding. Ever so mischievous, Peter (voice of James Corden) is doing his best to adapt to his new situation, and things are going smashingly until he is befriended by a grizzled street rabbit named Barnabas (voice of Lennie James) and his gang. Barnabas is a grifter and criminal mastermind, eventually gaining Peter’s trust and coercing him and the other animals on the farm into participating in a grand heist of the city’s famous farmers market.

It’s a cute story that plays a bit like “Ocean’s 11,” but with bevy of fuzzy critters. Whether you’re partial to children’s literary superstars like Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail, or Benjamin Bunny, Jeremiah Fisher, Mrs. Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, and Jemima Puddle-Duck, they all make an appearance here. No prior knowledge of Potter’s books is necessary, however.

There’s an abundance of wholesome humor that’s irresistible, and director Will Gluck includes plenty of slapstick for the kids. The animation is strong, and the live action performances from Gleeson and Byrne even more so. The theme that “families come in all shapes and sizes” is presented with a comforting sincerity, even if some of the more tongue-in-cheek bits come across as a little too self-aware.

“Peter Rabbit 2” is one of those well-made, creative sequels that many will think has no right to be as good as it is. What a delightful surprise that this cute caper turns out to be such a hopping good time.

By: Louisa Moore

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