Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
Computer-generated animation? Check. Cute talking animals placed in anthropomorphic situations? Check. Cheesy plastic 3D glasses? Check.
On the surface, it would look like 20th Century Fox has figured out the formula to a family-friendly cartoon with plenty of merchandising possibilities. That’s on the surface. The execution of this formula, ironically enough, is terribly formulaic. The characters just don’t have the same kind of endearing personality as we have found in other seemingly similar movies and the plot hangs on a very thin thread. This is the same issue that DreamWorks had with Madagascar 2 late last year. The formula sounds like it’d work, but it doesn’t.
For Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, a couple of woolly mammoths (voiced by Queen Latifah and Ray Romano) are expecting their first child. Their good friend, Sid the Ground Sloth, is feeling a little left out of this new family, so he looks to start one of his own. Stumbling across a group of seemingly abandoned eggs, he chooses to adopt the unborn creatures. Unfortunately, the eggs hatch and Sid finds himself as the “mother” to a Tyrannosaurus or three. Sid gets himself in a world of trouble and it’s up to his buddies to save him.
This third installment in the Ice Age series reminds us once again why Pixar is the undisputed king in the realm of quality animation. If you’re in the mood for a good 3D cartoon, I suggest you watch Up instead. The comical appeal of Scrat, Scratte, and the acorn just aren’t enough to warrant the price of admission.
I wouldn’t say that I went into Role Models with the highest of expectations, but the cast put my hopes a little higher than they should have been. Ever since we were introduced to “McLovin” in Judd Apatow‘s Superbad, we wondered if Christopher Mintz-Plasse would ever be able to play any other kind of character. The answer, thus far, is no. But that’s okay, because I still found his dorky demeanor to be entertaining in Role Models.
The characters played by Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott, the latter of whom I’ll always know first as Stifler, work for an energy drink company, going around with an anti-drug presentation that simultaneously promotes the product. Paul Rudd’s character hates his job and, at one point, has a mental breakdown. He drives into the statue in front of the school and the net effect is the choice between community service and 30 days in jail. They opt for the former and that’s how they end up in a Big Brother type program.
The premise itself isn’t terribly interesting, but neither was the premise in The Hangover. That’s not what matters. Paul Rudd does what he does best: play the generic male lead;
Stifler Seann William Scott does what he does best: play the immature sidekick; and Mintz-Plasse is just as dorky as he’s always been. If you’re wondering about the cape, his character participates in a real-world World of Warcraft-like role-playing game. Go figure.
In the end, we get a few cheap laughs and a very important life lesson: do you what you love to do. Role Models offers simple entertainment that won’t strain the brain.