Over the Hedge, the latest computer-animated offering from DreamWorks, is a fast-paced and silly 80 minutes of lightweight family entertainment. Based loosely on the popular comic strip of the same name, the film is populated with a loveable cast of goofy animal characters, voiced uniformly well by a variety of big-name actors. It is more successful prat-falling than moralizing, but it manages to stay engaging for kids and adults alike right through the end credits.
RJ (voiced by Bruce Willis) is a food-obsessed raccoon living near an interstate campsite. His proximity to humans (and their trash) has afforded him the opportunity to develop a potato-chip addiction so severe he is willing to risk life and limb in order to steal the winter larder of a hibernating bear named Vince (a menacing Nick Nolte). The bear awakens, a struggle ensues, and the bounty of saturated fats and preservatives (human junk food) is lost in an unfortunate cliff incident. Vince spares RJ's life only on the condition that the raccoon replace every morsel of stolen food within a week.
RJ knows he cannot come close to amassing the required provisions on his own. He is wandering through the woods pondering his demise when he comes across a group of foragers just stirring from their winter sleep. Verne the Turtle (Gary Shandling) is the cautious and kind leader of an odd little community of critters, including Hammy the hyperactive Squirrel (Steve Carell), a possum father and daughter (William Shatner and Avril Lavigne), a family of lovable, down-home porcupines (Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara), and a no-nonsense skunk named Stella (a perfectly-cast Wanda Skyes).
The animals discover a strange, foreboding object intersecting their forest and, despite their ...1