“The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature” stars Will Arnett, Katherine Heigl, Maya Rudolph, Jackie Chan, and Bobby Moynihan. Released on August 11, 2017, the film has Surly and his friends preventing a crooked mayor from bulldozing Liberty Park.
The film is directed by Cal Brunker, who also directed Escape from Planet Earth. He also served as a story artist for films such as Horton Hears a Who, 9, and Despicable Me. It is a sequel to the 2014 animated film, The Nut Job. You’re probably wondering why on earth do we need a sequel to The Nut Job. Well, to tell you the truth, it’s because Hollywood is going nuts over sequels. Despite its critical panning, The Nut Job was able to pull in a respectable amount of money at the box office during its theatrical release. So now we are getting a continuation to an animated film that we honestly don’t give a rat’s butt about. It’s entirely possible that some kids who liked the first film will most likely enjoy this sequel, but what about those who don’t?
While its predecessor focused on the animals retrieving the nuts from the nut shop, the sequel took a different approach by having Surly (Arnett), Andie (Heigl), and the gang fighting to save their home from being demolished. They also learn the importance of teamwork along the way. Right now, you’re probably thinking that since it is a sequel to a critically panned animated film, I would like it less than its predecessor. To be honest with you guys, I happened to enjoy this one a bit more than the first film, but like the original, it does have a lot of flaws that’ll make movie buffs and animation lovers go nuts in a bad way. Yes, it has its predictable moments as well as its corny moments, but it also has its entertaining moments, more so than its predecessor. Most of the main cast reprised their roles as their respective characters, and they once again delivered some pretty decent vocal performance, especially Arnett as Surly. One of the main issues that The Nut Job had was the fact that Surly’s amount of mean-spiritedness was a bit too much. For the sequel, they managed to make him more tolerable and supportive to his friends, even though he retains the grumpiness that he’s known for. However, it’s not enough to prevent the characters from being forgettable and mediocre. Not even Jackie Chan’s enjoyable voice work as Mr. Feng can make these characters work for me. The film’s antagonist, the Mayor of Oakton City (voiced by Moynihan), comes off as a cliched and weak animated villain who cares about nothing but popularity, and please don’t get me started on his daughter (voiced by Isabela Moner). If you thought that Grayson from the first film was obnoxious, just you wait until you see her. If there’s one thing I despise the most when it comes to watching movies, it’s people who act like spoiled brats, especially younger children. I cannot tell you how much I wanted to slap that little brat every time I see her on screen. The animation in this one was also a bit better than its predecessor. Even though it’s at the same level as the other average animated films like Rock Dog, it still offers its usual cartoonish slapstick that we’ve seen in the first film. The only difference is that it’s a bit more colorful. Once again, the humor that is used in this film is geared towards the younger crowd. While silly at times, it wasn’t able to impress those who are very strict on comedies.
Overall, “The Nut Job 2” is a slight improvement over the original in terms of the animation and its main character. However, due to its corny kid-friendly storyline, forgettable characters, and its silly cartoonish humor, it won’t be able to win over those who aren’t fond of the first film. Its central theme about teamwork and its entertaining values should be enough to entertain the little ones, but for a much older crowd who prefers Pixar-level storytelling and memorable characters, this latest animated sequel is a big kick in the nuts. If you like the first film, you might like this one as well. If not, then it’s not for you.