Family Movie Night

With the Easter holiday just around the corner it is time to pull out all of those classic light and fluffy Easter  movies.

I bet you are thinking “what classic light and fluffy Easter movies?”

Exactly.

The only one that comes to mind immediately is Easter Parade starring Judy Garland and Fred Astaire. Perhaps there are some TV animated movies but none come to mind as a “must-watch.”

This year that has all changed.

This year we have Russell Brand starring as E.B. in Hop which opens on Friday, April 1st. It is a cute movie that combines live action with animation  seemlessly.

E.B. at his drum set from the movie "Hop," picture from IMDB.com

E.B. is the son of The Easter Bunny. He is afraid of never being good enough for his perfectionist but loving father (Hugh Laurie). Plus, E.B. has a dream to be a drummer in a band. So the night before he is to be crowned as the new Easter bunny, E.B. runs away from home.

Meanwhile, Fred O’Hare (James Marsden) has been given an ‘intervention’ by his family who are tired of his slacker ways. He has been out of work for a year and cannot find a new job because nothing is ever quite right for him.

E.B. and Fred (James Marsden) in "Hop," picture from IMDb.com.

It is during this period of change that the two young seekers find each other. And freak out. Somehow these two work out a compromise and begin to really like each other.

Back home, trouble is brewing. E.B.’s disapperance has been noted. The chick who is second in command, Carlos (Hank Azaria) has decided it is time for a regime change. Will E.B. get his chance to shine? Will he save the island? Will Fred figure out what he wants in his life?

While there are times I wished this movie could move just a little faster, there were other times I was totally and completely won over by E.B. He is not a bad bunny, just a little self-absorbed and needing to learn a few lessons the hard way. Fred, on the other hand, got on my nerves. Can James Marsden play anything besides goof (Enchanted) or super serious (X-Men)?

Russell Brand gives voice to E.B. in "Hop," picture from IMDb.com

I have to admit I was taken aback when I saw that Brand was going to be in this family movie. With Brand, I think of a comic who is willing to take things as far as they will go in an adult sort of way.

He was Aldous Snow, the ‘hip’ rock star in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. He returned as the same rocker in need of career rehab in Get Him to the Greek. Why in the world would I think that this man is capable of the restraint needed for a family movie about the Easter Bunny?

The answer is that I have also seen Brand in Bedtime Stories with Adam Sandler and as the voice of Dr. Nefario in Despicable Me. Brand uses restraint in regards to language but his characters are funny and relatable, especially with kids.

The adults can relate to E.B. who is terrified to work under his father’s shadow. Kids will laugh at the jelly bean joke and the chase scenes and the pink berets. All will be taken in by the sweetness of the story and the feel-good moments. While no one will mistake this movie as a classic, it is a movie that you will watch again and again because it’s enjoyable.

Which isn’t to say there aren’t some forced moments here. Or that there were times characters needed to say things that were not said, that some of these characters needed to act in a way most of us would. 

However, if your goal is to find light-hearted, feel-good fare for the Easter season that the whole family can watch, Hop is the movie for you.

(Two and a half-stars)

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