I don't think I've heard a title as stupid as "The Nut Job". This is probably one of the dumbest titles given not to an animated film, but any film in general. Seriously, who names their movie after a synonym for an idiot? Well, apparently the people at Toon Box Studios think that the title is hilarious, and it's not. Neither is the film either. Not only that, but this movie is pretty mean spirited too, and not in a good way. I'll explain why this is.
As winter is coming quick, the animals of Liberty Park led by Raccoon (Liam Neeson) are quickly trying to get food which they are getting very little of. One of the reasons is the squirrel Surly (Will Arnett) and his silent rat sidekick Buddy who have been stealing the parks food for their own pleasure. However, after an incident with a nut cart (because those exist in real life), the animals expel him from the park. They then discover a closed nut shop across from the park which is really a criminal hideout as its right across the street from a bank. After one of the squirrels from the park named Andie (Katherine Heigl) discovers Surly's little secret they negotiate a deal to split the nuts in the shop. The rest of the movie is basically a couple of animals in the park planning to steal the nuts, while the criminals in the nut shop plan to steal from the bank with both of their plans coincidentally matching up. I think you can figure out the rest of the film from there.
I'm just going to get my biggest problem with this movie out of the way first. The characters in this movie, especially our main character Surly, are awful. Surly is so unlikeable that his attitude really makes you want to punch him. Even when his sidekick does something to save him, the poor rat is tortured by Surly as he is constantly choked, yelled at, and gets hurt for no reason whatsoever. The other characters, however, are just cliched. There's an egotistical dumb squirrel played by Brenden Fraser who really offers nothing to the film, Andie whose just a squirrel who hate Surly at first but warms up to him later, and Raccoon who is just a villain who has a stupid sabotage plot up his sleeve. You get the idea. The story has some promise but fails to deliver. I like the idea of squirrels trying to steal nuts from a shop to survive winter, but the fact is that this was based on the director's five-minute student film. This is one reason the film doesn't work. Another thing I disliked was the very pointless bank subplot. I didn't care about these robbers at all. The one thing I found tolerable is the animation. While some of the human animations looked pretty bad, the animation of the animals looked impressive enough. I also think the animators got some of the slapstick down pretty well. However, it's not a strong compliment.
"The Nut Job" is one of the most mean spirited animated movies I've seen. It's so awful that it could be pretty hard for some people to watch. Well, then again, this is a movie that was released in January, and we all know how terrible movies are when they are released this month. In case your kids really badly want to see this movie, bring an Epi-pen. You might need it by the end of the film.