Cast: Russell Brand, James Marsden, Kaley Cuoco, Hank Azaria, Gary Cole, Elizabeth Perkins, David Hasselhoff, Chelsea Handler and Hugh Laurie
El Camino '14
"If my doctor told me I had six minutes to live, I would type a little faster" - Issac Asimov
Review By: Jordan Nicholson
Of all the major American holidays, the mythology of Easter is easily the least explored. As a little kid I never really understood the holiday and found it confusing. Who is this Easter Bunny? Where does he get his eggs from? What does any of this have to do with Jesus? Unlike Christmas or Halloween, there was no explanation, no attempts to connect the way we see Easter now with its Pagan roots. All I knew was that I got candy out of it, and that was enough to keep me quietly content. But I never went crazy over Easter, never counted the days or made a list the way that I did for Christmas.
So it seems only natural that someone should make a movie that tries to answer all of these questions and really get kids excited about the holiday the way that The Santa Clause movies did. This is the thinking behind Hop, a light-hearted children’s film from the creators of Horton Hears a Who and Despicable Me.
It tells the story of E.B. (voiced by Russell Brand), the son of the current Easter Bunny (Hugh Laurie), who rejects his title and runs away to become a rock n’ roll drummer. He meets up with Fred (James Marsden), an out-of-work-slacker who has just been ousted by his family and can’t seem to find his life’s purpose. Also there’s a borderline offensive Hispanic chick (Hank Azaria) who stages a coup to overthrow the current Easter Bunny. Through a series of improbable events Fred comes to realize that what he really wants is to be the Easter Bunny (he’s human, I might add) and E.B. learns the importance of not following your dreams and not just taking the job that’s been forced upon you… wait what?!
This story is all over the place, and at times makes no sense at all. Much of it feels forced and largely superfluous to the story trying to be told. The narrative is unbalanced and hard to follow. The burgeoning friendship between E.B. and Fred is given most of the focus, but changes direction so often that I cannot imagine any child being able to follow what was going on. On the other hand, Hank Azaria’s story arc is completely underdeveloped. You know he is going to be a bad guy right from the beginning, but you can’t really accept it when he reveals himself to be. You really need to give your antagonist more than ten minutes of screen time if you want anyone to give a damn.
The acting wasn’t bad considering the material they were working with. Brand turns in an acceptable performance, managing to separate himself from his public image. With most of his movies you either love him or hate him, but here he manages to disappear into the role, which no doubt improves the
The film’s greatest weakness comes from its failure to successfully deliver on an unspoken promise. As stated earlier, the goal of this film was to get kids excited about Easter by any means necessary, even if it meant recounting its entire whacked out mythology. I was genuinely curious to see what their take would be on the holiday, but in truth this isn’t really an Easter movie. In fact, Easter is hardly mentioned, much less explained. You don’t see the inner-workings of the “Easter machine”, nor is any meaning supplied to the holiday. This film treats Easter with the same apathetic disinterest the rest of us do. All in all, the film is a disappointment and left me even more confused about this odd holiday than I was before.
If your child enjoyed the movie they will be more than happy with the special features. There is a “making of” feature, a short film, and several interviews with both the actors and characters. If nothing else, it will keep them busy a little longer and give you a solid hour to do whatever you want without them interfering. What more can you ask for?