Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: (voice) Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Ariel Winter, Allison Janney, Stephen Colbert, Leslie Mann, Stanley Tucci, Lake Bell, Patrick Warburton, Stephen Tobolowsky, Dennis Haysbert, Mel Brooks, Zach Callison, Lauri Fraser, Tom McGrath
Written by: Craig Wright, based on characters created by Jay Ward
Directed by: Rob Minkoff
MPAA Rating: PG for some mild action and brief rude humor
Running Time: 92
Date: 03/07/2014
IMDB

Mr. Peabody & Sherman (2014)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Barks and Bites

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The brilliant, time-traveling dog Mr. Peabody and his adopted boy Sherman first appeared in short bits on the "Rocky and Bullwinkle" cartoon show in the late 1950s. They were rendered in simple line drawings for quick and cheap television, but with sharp, clever, gag-based writing -- with humor that ranged from subtle to silly -- and a talented voice cast.

Now they have been stretched to feature-length and updated with 3D computer animation. The prologue, a visit to Marie Antoinette, tips a hat to the original (including a delightful pun). Then the main story becomes a race to fix the space-time continuum, an attempt to prevent the evil Ms. Grunion (voiced by Allison Janney) from taking Sherman (voiced by Max Charles) away from Mr. Peabody (voiced by Ty Burrell), and a reconciliation between Sherman and his blonde school bully, Penny (voiced by Ariel Winter).

Director Rob Minkoff (The Lion King, Stuart Little) embraces cool, key elements from the show, yet also wraps them up in bombastic, fast-paced filmmaking; it's slick and noisy, but fleet-footed and funny. The real conundrum is the range of jokes, which start at snappy and funny -- Patrick Warburton voices a hilarious Agamemnon -- but veer toward the weirdly, marginally offensive. In the end, Mr. Peabody & Sherman mostly barks, and occasionally bites.

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