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'The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature': You know what I'm saying?

Edited by Sonious
Your rating: None Average: 3.6 (29 votes)

thenutjob2nuttybynature.jpg"Somehow, my job now requires me to sit and watch THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS."
- Guy Lodge, Guardian film critic, via Twitter, Nov. 9, 2016

"So much for peaceful protest."
- Surly, squirrel

Currently, this movie sits at a paltry 11% at Rotten Tomatoes, from 47 reviews (not a big number of reviews for a wide release movie). A grand total of five professional reviewers found enough decent in the movie to muster "fresh" ratings there. This 11% percent matches the original's score, though it had double the positive reviews with 10 of its 89 reviews finding something nice to say about it. So, obviously, not the most critically beloved movie franchise ever.

However, I didn't exactly follow the critics' consensus with the first movie, what with giving it a spot on my annual top ten list. Fred liked it too, in his review of the movie for Flayrah. And I won't be agreeing with the critics again for the sequel (you'll have to ask Fred if he's even seen this second one, though).

But, you know what, who cares? I mean, as I write this, the top story on Flayrah Lamar's article on the alt-right, while Equivamp's take is a little bit below it. Who cares if the cartoon squirrel movie is good or not; it's not like it has anything to say about the real world and the things that are happening in it right now.


I'm going to be honest with you, before I watched this movie, I read a mock review on a non-furry website calling "The Nut Job 2 the best political film of the year!" (put that on the poster). While the post was mostly meant facetiously (and was written by someone calling themselves "Goofy Gorilla"), and it certainly is not the best political film of the year, there is something there. It's right there in the poster; apparently I've developed a fetish for film posters featuring anthropomorphic animals flashing ironic peace signs. The hand gesture is a bit trite nowadays, but it is most famous as a counter-cultural anti-war protest symbol.

The movie's villain is a mayor, and this is not the first movie I've reviewed featuring villainous mayors. Or even the second. They're easy politicians for our heroes to topple. But why are politicians always the villains? I mean, it's almost like we don't trust those guys ...

Anyway, this villainous mayor (Bobby Moynihan) wants to bulldoze under the park where Surly (Will Arnett) and his woodland critter friends live. It isn't profitable to the mayor, just sitting there, being a park. No, he wants to turn it into an amusement park, where he can charge people absurd amounts of money to ride his cheaply constructed rides. The woodland critters at first are able to sabotage the bulldozers, but when the mayor calls in professional exterminators, the tide begins to turn against the fauna of the park.

There are various subplots introduced here, as Surly's pug dog friend Precious (Maya Rudolph) is "rescued" by the mayor's daughter (Isabela Moner) which causes Surly and his rat buddy, Buddy (Jean Dujardin), to attempt their own rescue mission. Meanwhile, they meet Mr. Feng (Jackie Chan), the leader of a gang of kung fu mice, who were exiled from a different park across town by the mayor, who turned it into a golf course.

So, just to be clear here, the villain is a real estate businessman turned politician who really likes to golf. Get it? GET IT?

So, is this some sort of hidden propaganda piece, like that post I read on that obscure forum which claimed The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature is in fact a left-leaning call for an open revolution overthrowing our capitalist overlords, which is exactly what Surly decides must be done for the climax? Maybe? I mean, the point of the post I keep vaguely referring to was to parody how easy it is to make these kind of readings, even in dumb kid's cartoons about squirrels. But on the other hand, it's not not a story of a repressed underclass taking the fight to their oppressors.

See, sometimes a movie is about something. Sometimes a movie really wants to seen as about something, even if it really isn't. And sometimes, a movie isn't about anything at all. I think The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature is ultimately the third. There's something in the air right now, if you haven't noticed, and our entertainment, even our most insubstantial, reflects our reality. It isn't a counter-cultural statement; I mean, it may look to be an anti-capitalist screed, if you are looking for that, but it's a multi-million dollar budget CGI cartoon sequel. On one hand, how mainstream capitalism is that?

Of course, on the other, don't the most effective revolutions come from the inside?

Still wavering, aren't I? Oh, well, the real reason I really liked the first movie was because of the great use of slapstick and the wonderful furry character designs of the squirrels, two things a furry reviewer might appreciate more than your mainstream critic. This one has all that, plus a surprisingly great joke about parking out of nowhere, and it even leaves out the fart jokes that marred the first one (I will not pass judgement either way on the absence of Psy's "Gangnam Style", which provides this review's lyrical headline, over the credits as in the first movie). Also, if you want to look at it in a maybe unintended fashion, it's a call to arms. Hey, cult movies are made of these slightly cock-eyed readings. So are revolutions.

As Goofy Gorilla put it:

"Fantastic movie that I am not surprised to see panned by the capitalist press."


Your rating: None Average: 1 (2 votes)


Your rating: None Average: 2 (1 vote)

I still need to watch Get Out...

Edit: Wasn't meant to be a reply to any comment.

Your rating: None Average: 1 (1 vote)

The DVD has about 6 alternative ending lines; one was literally "You think she voted for Trump?"

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (3 votes)

Gee, I just posted a comment on this four days ago:

Here is the third trailer for “The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature”.

My sister took me the the AMC Burbank 16 theater today to see it. We liked it; she liked it better than the first one.

We were alone in the theatre. This matches the article on the Cartoon Brew website on August 13: “‘The Nut Job 2’ Records Worst All-Time Opening For A Film In 4,000 Theaters”. The article/review goes on: “There’s nothing even remotely close on the record books for an opening this pathetic.” Why didn’t anyone go to see it? Cartoon Brew repeated its statement that the movie was made strictly for six-year-olds, and six-year-olds don’t drive themselves to movie theaters. “But families couldn’t be bothered to see the film, most likely because adults weren’t convinced that they could enjoy the film with their kids. American animation producers have learned this lesson well, and in recent years, they’ve stopped producing strictly ‘kids’ films’ in favor of ‘family films,’ which ostensibly spread out the entertainment to both children and adults.

“This [is] the reason why animation producers go out of their way to ‘age up’ children’s films, peppering them with questionable content like urine-gargling, shit gags, and almost F-bombs. They’re desperate to convince adults that the film is for them, too.”

Do you feel that movies without urine-gargling and shit gags are too juvenile for you? If so, count me as a perpetual mental juvenile and proud of it. Hey, is there urine-gargling, shit gags, and foul language in “My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic”? Don’t answer that. (There are vomit gags in “The Nut Job 2”.)

The movie is excellently CGI-animated by ToonBox Entertainment in Toronto, with mostly South Korean investment capital. It is a direct sequel to the first movie, with some subtle changes in the setup. Surly Squirrel is now the open benefactor of Oakton’s wildlife, instead of being a secret benefactor while rival Grayson (completely missing here) takes the credit. The first movie established that Buddy the rat could talk when he wanted to; he never does in this second movie, and it’s implied that he can’t. Not only is the raccoon leader of the animals gone (he was eliminated at the end of the first movie), there is no replacement and it’s implied that the animals don’t have a formal leader.

Maury’s Nut Shop, the out-of-business home of the animals that Surly has found for them, is destroyed in an explosion. Surly feels that this is no problem; the animals can return to Liberty Park, where they were before, and live off nature. But the Park is targeted to be torn up by Oakton’s corrupt Mayor Percy Muldoon (trees and flowers don’t provide the city with any money) and replaced with LibertyLand, an (unsafe) amusement park that he can charge admissions to. The animals fail to prevent the Park from being razed, but Surly gets Mr. Feng and an army of mice (“don’t call them cute”) from Oakton’s Chinatown to destroy the amusement park on its Grand Opening. The corrupt mayor is jailed, and Liberty Park is restored.

There are two subplots. Surly and Andie, his girlfriend, argue through most of the movie whether the animals should live off the humans’ food as Surly wants (first the nut shop, then Surly and Buddy try to raid restaurants and doughnut shops), or if they should return to nature and natural acorns as she wants. A romance is set up between Precious the pug and Frankie, a bulldog belonging to Heather, Mayor Muldoon’s terrifyingly bratty young daughter.

There were several nice bits of humor, such as Andie’s constantly-interrupted attempts to sing a musical-style song (she can’t sing, and as Surly asks. “does anyone really break into a song like in a musical?), and the variations on “WE’RE GONNA DIE!!” The joke about the Chinese kung-fu mice being so cute is overdone.

The forest animals’ war against the natural Park’s demolishers (earth mover equipment operators) and the amusement park is so open that the ending about Mayor Muldoon being arrested for safety violations doesn’t really make sense. If a bunch of terrorist animals openly destroy an amusement park and attack its human guests, how is that a safety violation that the park’s management (the mayor) is responsible for? But don’t get me started on plot holes in animated films. Plenty of more highly-rated movies have plot holes just as bad or worse.

To sum up: I thoroughly enjoyed “The Nut Job 2”. I think that most furry fans will, too.


Fred Patten

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

"Hey, is there urine-gargling, shit gags, and foul language in “My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic”? Don’t answer that"

(Answers Anyway): Alot of My Little Pony's adult humor does include One episode containing an Infidelity Joke, and even an episode where a character almost looks like she snaps a bears neck.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

I remember seeing the critics reaction. I could never quite understand critics on this film. Like I don't know if it's me, but I can usually understand critics on some (e.g. The Emoji Movie) and see they usually say it's boring but when I try to look for a good reason on this, most sound so confusing and possibly just trying to find this excuse to make a movie "bad". A couple tried calling out the characters design (stifle creativity) and others... I never could quite understand them.

But that could be me... Maybe this is one of those movies I need to watch it myself to understand. :S

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

I was as pleasantly surprised by this film as I was for the first *Nut Job*, and for the exact same reason! Despite the story (which I found Meh) and the dialogue (most of which I found thoroughly MEH), this film as a visual treat. I have almost never seen cinematography, lighting, rendering, motion, and editing done in an animated film the way these guys do. It is sumptuous.

[Side note on the dialogue: The writers DID manage to sneak in some good lines here and there, and oddly almost all of them they gave to Precious the pug. "There were warning signs..."]

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Has anyone noticed that the ToonBox website says, "Projects in Development: The Nut Job 3: Pirate Cat"?

Fred Patten

Your rating: None Average: 2 (1 vote)

Went to check on that and the "projects in development" tab got a 404 not found message, so between that and the not very good terrible box office, not holding my breath (though the words "pirate" and "cat" together in conjunction with this franchise are breathtaking by themselves if this does work out).

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

nice post

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