Rated: PG

Distributed By:

Open Road Films

Directed by:

Peter Lepeniotis


Voices of Will Arnett as Surly; Brendan Fraser as Grayson; Liam Neeson as Raccoon; Katherine Heigl as Andie; Maya Rudolph as Precious

Adapted From:

Plugged In Online

The Nut Job

It takes hard work to gather nuts for winter. Surly the squirrel has an easier plan—steal nuts from a park vendor. But his daring heist goes wrong, and soon every critter’s spare food supply blows up in one giant explosion.

Raccoon, leader of the park, banishes Surly to the big city. While roaming the streets, Surly and his rat friend Buddy discover a nut shop, with enough food inside to feed the entire park! Too bad the shop is also full of dangerous criminals. How do you steal from thieves?

At first, Surly only cares about himself. But thanks to faithful rat friend Buddy and girl squirrel Andie, Surly learns to appreciate his neighbors. “They say life’s there for the taking,” Surly notes, “but the truth is, life’s there for the sharing.”

The nut heists involve lots of animal/human chase scenes full of physical humor, including car crashes and gunfights. Surly gets shocked, pummeled, blasted and bounced into walls. Critters risk fire, flood and even electrocution.

The film relies on lots of bathroom jokes and “nut” puns for humor. A human girl wears tight outfits. During the credits, the critters sing “Gangnam Style”—the mostly Korean lyrics include several repetitions of the phrase “Eh, sexy lady!”

There’s a fine line between foraging and stealing. The Ten Commandments are very clear about what God thinks: “Do not steal” (Exodus 20:15). That makes it hard for us to root for Surly, even if he’s helping others.

The Nut Job began as an 11-minute, foul-mouthed animated short back in 2005. The transformation into an 86-minute kids cartoon wasn’t completely successful. Most of the characters are unlikeable, and the story is unnecessarily confusing. We can’t imagine many families going nuts for this movie.

Copyright © 2014 by Focus on the Family.