More solid, at least, than the ice on which its characters float, “Ice Age: Continental Drift” is a fun fourth installment of the popular franchise that has charmed its fans for years.

The voice of Ray Romano again provides the vocal cords for Manny the mammoth, who still is palling around with Diego the saber-toothed tiger (Denis Leary) and Sid the sloth (John Leguizamo). Sid’s parents and hygiene-challenged uncle arrive on the scene, only to take off again, leaving Sid’s dotty grandmother (Wanda Sykes) in his care.

Manny and his wife Ellie (Queen Latifah) are having problems with their headstrong daughter Peaches (Keke Palmer), who has a crush on a young male mammoth and wants to hang out with him and his cool crowd. Peaches spends a lot of time with a “molehog” (a cross between a mole and a hedgehog) named Louis (Josh Gad), whom she considers a friend but who feels a lot more than friendship for Peaches.

The continental drift in question is a physical threat that looms over the animals, which decide to keep moving to escape it. Because of an accident, Diego, Manny and Sid are separated from the rest and find themselves at sea on a sort of iceberg ship. They are threatened by the arrival of Captain Gutt (Peter Dinklage) and his crew of toughened animals that includes Shira (Jennifer Lopez), a tiger that spars with Diego.

All Manny wants is to get back to his family, but Gutt wants him to join his crew … or else. Meanwhile, Peaches has some lessons to learn about not only being a daughter, but also about being a loyal friend.

The show, not surprisingly, is colorful, full of action and even has an entertaining song. Naturally, the Scrat is present again in his unending quest to capture an acorn.

I saw the movie in 3-D and was pleasantly surprised at how much the well-wrought effects enhanced the story. This is a family movie, pure and simple. It doesn’t have the depth of “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted,” with its references to opera and Federico Fellini’s films, but it’s still entertaining for all ages, with themes that are universal and are not delivered ham-handedly.

Those who enjoyed its predecessors certainly won’t want to give this installment the cold shoulder.

"Ice Age: Continental Drift"

3 stars

Running time: 95 minutes

Rated: PG for body-function humor

(1) comment

wildcat08

I saw this. I thought it had a good story line, it was interesting and had drama. But I didn't find it as funny as the others. I wish they would have kicked up the comedy a little more on this one, but still definetly worth seeing. I just wouldn't pay full theatre price for it... It's more of a red box movie.

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