I remember it because it depressed me so much.
It was January 2014, and the credits were rolling for the lackluster “Nut Job.” A fellow who was sitting behind me in the audience said, “It sure was better than that ‘Frozen.’” (“Frozen,” incidentally, went on to earn the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year.)
Well … to each his own. I’m sure some audiences, including that anonymous viewer, were looking forward to “Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature.” But it’s even more lackluster than the original. It has little in the way of character development, the jokes mostly fall flat, and the whole thing seems to be a rehash of the forgettable “Furry Vengeance” from 2010.
The setup is that Surly Squirrel (voice of Will Arnett) and his friends are living in Oakton City, dining on nuts in the basement of what was the operation called the Nut Shop. Surly’s girlfriend Andie (Katherine Heigl) thinks all the animals should forage in Liberty Park across the street.
An explosion ensues. The store and its contents are lost. Surly and his friend Buddy the mouse try to steal donuts and popcorn, but they’re terrible thieves, it turns out. Meanwhile, in the park, bulldozers appear and begin to demolish the beautiful setting that could have provided a safe haven for the critters.
The wealthy mayor (Bobby Moynihan) of Oakton has an idea: An amusement park would be better than a tree-filled park. And it will make him all kinds of money. He doesn’t care about the safety of the animals, nor does he care about the safety of the amusement park visitors: He just wants to make money as fast as he can.
A lot of this just isn’t funny. Kids will like seeing the animals run around. This is full of action but almost devoid of meaning. One of the animals shouts “We’re all gonna die!” over and over. Precious (Maya Rudolph,) a pug, keeps licking the other animals overzealously. Jackie Chan provides the voice for a mouse who is a martial-arts master, a “weapon of mouse destruction” (I do like that line).
One particular un-funny scene involves -- if you’re eating something, please pause in your culinary endeavor – regurgitation. This isn’t humorous. It’s disgusting.
There’s nothing memorable about any of this movie, which is, in a sense, the focus of a hallmark of so many bad movies: A carnival scene. That’s a gigantic red flag.
Unless you really enjoyed the first movie, you’d be nuts to consider its even lesser sequel.