We saw this rather delightful little animated effort and laughed a lot. The rather simple plot is that a conniving raccoon, "R.J." (voiced by Bruce Willis) is deeply in hock to a murderous bear (a sort of one-creature mob, Nick Nolte) and sleazes the unwitting help of a group of other beasts who have just woken up from hibernation to find that their woodland habitat has been reduced to a bit of greenspace left in the middle of a suburban housing development. Nevertheless, the story has some decent subtleties: it shows, for example, how easily the woodland creatures can become addicted to the sweet, salt, grease and spice of abundant human trash, especially when there are few other options. The discovery/reconciliation/redemption story arc regarding R.J.'s plot is a familar one, but I was not prepared for disaster to strike when "Vern" (a tortoise, the animal's spiritual leader, Garry Shandling) attempts to unilaterally take matters into his own hands, showing that well-meant rash action can be just as harmful as deliberate deception, at least in the short run. The attempt to recover from this major setback has R.J. organizing the cratures into a "caper" that fans of old-time "Mission: Impossible" will enjoy. And, just because it's a funny animal movie doesn't mean you can't have a car chase--.
The various critters are lots of fun, although I admit I chiefly went to see William Shatner send up his own ham-acting reputation as "Ozzie" the oppossum into melodramatic "death" scenes. There's actually some charming interaction with him and the daughter opossum "Heather" (Avril Lavigne). Willis has pretty good comic timing as R.J., Nolte is wonderfully growly as "Vinnie" the bear, and fun supporting performances by Wanda Sykes as "Stella" the scruffy and dejected skunk; Catherine O'Hhara and Eugene Levy as a pair of "Yooper" porcupines, and Steve Carrell as "Hammie", the hyperactive (and hypointelligent) squirrel.
I haven't laughed so hard in a long time.
Rated PG, but pretty good for all ages. I can't think of anything too bad for children, but cute animals in peril during the crisis might be rather intense.