Starring: James Marsden, Elizabeth Perkins, (the voices of) Russell Brand, Hugh Laurie, Hank Azaria
Director: Tim Hill
Writer(s): Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio, Brian Lynch
Cinematography: Peter Lyons Collister
Original Score: Christopher Lennertz
Running Time: 90 Mins.
Christmas films, they are ten-a-penny, that time of year when all the kids are off school and psyched for presents and the fat guy in red with a fluffy white beard, so what is wrong with easter then? The kids are off school, they are hyped at the thought of a certain bunny coming by with a fluffy white tail bearing chocolates and “candy” and in the Easter Bunny surely there is scope for a huge money spinner of not just a film, but also merchandising opportunities galore, bunnies, chicks, branded sweets, the possibilities are endless,,,in fact that it hasn’t been done sooner is the biggest surprise that Hop holds.
So imagine if you will a film in the strain of The Santa Clause, a cheesy cheery family vehicle that calls for nothing more than you switching your brain off and watching a highly implausible plot unfurl in a half-way entertaining way. There you have it, that is Hop, except it is also from the man who brought us Alvin and the Chipmunks and Garfield, which means the bunny in question is animated and talks, oh and there are talking chicks…sounds painful now doesn’t it. Well banish all thoughts of Alvin and Garfield for this is actually quite good fun, thankfully bereft of the obligatory love story for the lead human (or animal) the focus here is on that all too common theme of bromance!
Here’s where it gets better, Russell Brand voices E.B. the unwilling next in line for the job of…well you get the idea, he has daddy issues (current Easter Bunny as voiced by Hugh Laurie) as does Fred (Marsden), E.B.’s reluctant new “friend” and yearns to drum in a rock n’ roll band instead. With most of the running time split between the bromance strand and an envious Easter Chick Carlos (Azaria) trying to take ver back on Easter island there is never time to find yourself checking your watch, its bright and breezy without taxing your brain, largely thanks to the game cast (human and voice).
As odd a choice as having Brand play the Easter Bunny may seem, it works, he is loveable and funny (both key facets in a family film!) and his cockney tones give E.B. real personality, similarly Marsden succeeds where Breckin Meyer and Jason Lee before him failed, he manages to be equally as funny and charming as his furry co-star despite the constant mugging (in a good way) and holds his own as a slacker in search of his true calling, you needn’t guess what it is, the opening crawl tells us!
The set design is imaginative and Easter Island in particular is great to look at, Hill even employs a little directorial flair in some tracking shots (shocking I know) and a fluffy chick makes for a great villain of the piece, yes it is all rather slight and a cameo from the Hoff was really needless (unlike Brand’s human form which raised a smile) other than to give it a hefty dose of pop culture, a shame really as this was as memorable season fare as most christmas films even if that is damning it with faint praise!
Hop bests most seasonal offerings and certainly strides ahead of Hill’s other works (though admittedly thats an easy feat), while Russell Brand proves himself as something of a charming presence even in a family film. Bright and breezy it won’t do anything more than raise a smile or two in 90 minutes, but in some cases that is something of a big achievement!