UK Release Date: 7th February 2014
Runtime: 92 minutes
Director: Rob Minkoff
Writer: Craig Wright
Starring: Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Allison Janney, Stanley Tucci, Mel Brooks, Stephen Colbert, Leslie Mann, Stephen Tobolowsky, Patrick Warburton
Synopsis: A boy adopted by the world’s most intelligent dog makes waves when he misuses his father’s time machine.
Last year, Hollywood’s funniest movies were made for kids. Whilst R-rated comedies stalled with tired frat boy laughs, hits like Despicable Me 2 and Frozen kept heart and hilarity at their centre. Now, as we head into 2014, animated comedy is still in fine health on the strength of the brilliant Mr Peabody & Sherman.
Mr Peabody (Ty Burrell) is the world’s most intelligent dog who has just won a court battle to adopt Sherman (Max Charles), a human child. After problems at school lead Mrs Grunion (Allison Janney) to threaten to take Sherman away, Peabody plans an evening of reconciliation. His plans go awry though when Sherman misuses the WABAC – Peabody’s time machine.
Mr Peabody & Sherman is, first and foremost, a really funny film. Based on a segment from the 50s and 60s cartoon The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show, it manages to be a genuinely amusing ride of a film, with a didactic tone that never intrudes into the fun.
| "If a boy can adopt a dog, I see no reason why a dog can not adopt a boy."
Ty Burrell fits perfectly into the lead vocal role, accompanied by a who’s-who of American comedy talent in supporting roles, from Stephen Colbert to Patrick Warburton. Some of the turns, such as Stanley Tucci’s Leonardo Da Vinci, are heightened to ridiculousness by outrageous accents, but even these work in the context of Mr Peabody & Sherman.
The entire film is beautifully animated, bringing to life locations as diverse as Ancient Egypt, the Trojan War and 16th century Italy to great effect. Hidden in incidental dialogue and even the background are a treasure trove of references to please any history nerds in the audience. Some of the script is a little teachy at times, but it’s the striking warmth of the story and the constant stream of jokes that keeps the film above water.
| "Looks like the past is coming to us!"
Blessed with one of the best animated third acts of the last few years and some really satisfying running gags, Mr Peabody & Sherman is the first proper children’s hit of 2014.
Pop or Poop?
With heart emerging from every tear it makes in time, Mr Peabody & Sherman is a stupidly fun jaunt of a comedy blessed with great voice performances and an engaging story.
It does push the educational aspect a little too much at times, but there is enough to amuse the kids and their parents to make Mr Peabody & Sherman well worth a family outing.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.