The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature
by George Wolf
Nut Job 2 is here, which immediately raises a question.
Was there a Nut Job 1?
There was, in 2014, and despite being completely forgettable it raked in enough cash to warrant a sequel. Plus, there’s a third installment already on the docket whether the franchise deserves it or not.
It doesn’t, as Nutty by Nature offers another uninspired, completely forgettable adventure that can’t find the depth to render its political themes effective.
We catch up with Surly the squirrel (voiced by Will Arnett) and his rodent friends living large off the forgotten inventory of the now-abandoned nut shop from the first film. Andi the squirrel (Katherine Heigl) thinks they all are getting too fat and lazy, but when a corrupt mayor (Bobby Moynihan) levels their habitat to build a theme park, the gang must work together to provide a successful…ahem…resistance.
Despite a couple scene-stealing moments from Maya Rudolph (Precious the Pug) and Jackie Chan (Mr. Feng, the Weapon of Mouse Destruction), director/co-writer Cal Brunker (Escape from Planet Earth) offers precious little in the way of personality, humor or resonance. Music sequences cranked up to dialogue-obscuring volumes are no help.
Just last year, Zootopia set the bar for socially conscious animation very, very high. While it’s commendable that Nut Job 2 has similar ambitions, the result will be appreciated only by the youngest viewers who just like watching the silly animals.