The Nut Job

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The Nut Job
The Nut Job poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Peter Lepeniotis
Produced by
  • Graham Moloy
  • WK Jung
Screenplay by
  • Lorne Cameron
  • Peter Lepeniotis
Story by Peter Lepeniotis
Based on Surly Squirrel 
by Peter Lepeniotis
Music by Paul Intson
Editing by Paul Hunter
  • Toonbox Entertainment
  • Red Rover International
  • Gulfstream Pictures
Distributed by
Release dates
  • January 11, 2014 (2014-01-11) (Los Angeles)
  • January 17, 2014 (2014-01-17) (North America)
  • January 29, 2014 (2014-01-29) (South Korea)
Running time 86 minutes[1]
Language English
Budget $42.8 million[2]
Box office $69,181,689[5]

The Nut Job is a 2014 3D Canadian-South Korean-American computer-animated comedy film directed by Peter Lepeniotis. It is written by Lorne Cameron and Peter Lepeniotis, starring the voices of Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser, Gabriel Iglesias, Jeff Dunham, Stephen Lang, Maya Rudolph, Liam Neeson, and Katherine Heigl. The film is based on the 2005 short animated film Surly Squirrel by Lepeniotis.[6] It was released on January 17, 2014, by Open Road Films.[7] With a budget of $42.8 million, it is the most expensive animated film co-produced in South Korea.[2]

A sequel, titled The Nut Job 2, is scheduled to be released on January 15, 2016.[8]


In the fictional town of Oakton, a group of urban animals led by Raccoon (Liam Neeson) and his Cardinal assistant (who mostly chirps) store food for winter in a giant tree in the park called Liberty Park. Raccoon is informed by his servant Mole (Jeff Dunham) that there is a food shortage in the park. Among these animals is a selfish purple squirrel named Surly (Will Arnett) and his rat partner Buddy who does not talk much whose thieving reputation has made them an outcasts.Their attempt to rob a peanut cart goes haywire when it is impeded by Raccoon's helpers, a compassionate red squirrel named Andie (Katherine Heigl) and the 'park hero', a gray squirrel named Grayson (Brendan Fraser) whose heroic antics prove to be incompetent. A selfless Surly ignores Andie's help and tries to get a bag of nuts while the owner Lucky and his associate Fingers gets distracted by a bratty girl scout customer and a police officer that the girl issues her complaint to. The heist also gets invaded by Lucky's pet pug named Precious (Maya Rudolph). After fending her off by having her bite the pipe of a propane tank, Surly and Buddy escape with the cart and Andie manages to guide it to Liberty Park. Surly threatens Andie and Grayson with a torch, unwilling to share the food, but accidentally causes it to ricochet across the park. Although the animals (except for Grayson) get off safely, the cart is sent into the tree, where it explodes along with the tree and the animals' food supply. When Surly is identified as the culprit, Raccoon banishes him from Liberty Park following a unanimous vote forcing him to survive in the city.

Buddy attempts to be with Surly who tells him to leave after he unknowingly contributed to his exile. After escaping from wild street rats, they find a nut store called Maury's Nut Shop and attempt to rob it to feed themselves. After entering the store, they discover that it's a criminal hideout used by Lucky, Fingers, their mob boss Percy "King" Dimplewade (Stephen Lang) who has recently gotten out of jail, his silent partner Knuckles, and his girlfriend Lana (Sarah Gadon). Raccoon sends Andie and Grayson to find food only for them to get separated upon Grayson fighting a street rat. Precious also serves as the guard dog there. King plans to rob the Oaken Bank and replace the cash with nuts. Surly and Buddy see that the only way to get to the nuts and to avoid Precious is with a dog whistle that Lucky has. The two of them are thrown out by Fingers since he can hear it. While trying to find the whistle, Surly crosses paths with Andie who gets the whistle and threatens to dispose of it if Surly does not share the food he's going to take. Reluctantly, Surly accepts and unwittingly befriends Precious after threatening her with the whistle. Andie informs the park community of the plan. Although they have a lack of faith in Surly, Raccoon and the rest of the park community agree to go along with it. Andie gets help from Mole and the trio of Groundhog Bruisers lead by Jimmy (Gabriel Iglesias).

When the first attempt to rob the store fails, Surly eventually learns from Andie that Raccoon planned on double crossing him and Surly leaves after an argument. Back at Liberty Park, Raccoon's true colors are revealed, a power hungry con artist who keeps food from the animals to have his leadership kept and only Mole and Cardinal know about it. Surly ends up chasing after King's truck as the animals help him while Grayson fights off Cardinal who is sent flying into the cat section of the pet store. While in the truck upon Raccoon's arrival, Mole defects from Raccoon and reveals this info to the animals with Surly resulting in Raccoon being voted out of the park community. King and Knuckles try to use dynamite to blow the police out, but the truck hangs over the bridge. Surly gets himself and Andie off the truck as the dynamite goes off inside the truck and as it (alongside King, Knuckles, and Raccoon who are still inside) falls down into the river, but they eventually fall down into. Surly makes it to a log, but Raccoon, King and Knuckles survives the explosion. Raccoon tries to kill Surly, but the nuts make weight that begins to break the log. The animals arrive to rescue them, but Surly, deciding to be selfless in order to protect his friends, lets go of the log and falls down into the waterfall with Raccoon apparently. The park community, now seeing the good side of Surly, mourn him in honor of the most selfless act he committed in years.

The food makes its way into the Liberty Park, where the animals gather around in joy for their food troubles are over. King and his associates are arrested as Lana appears to end her relationship with King. Andie and Buddy are still mourning over Surly and when Precious finds out what happened to her friend, she eventually finds Surly's apparent dead body near the river. She has Buddy come and look at it. Doleful to see his best friend gone, Buddy says his first two words "best friend". Surly reveals that he was actually unconscious and hugs Buddy and Precious licks Surly's face (which she wanted to do since she got involved in Surly's heist) and leaves to meet up with Lana who plans to run Maury's Nut Shop in Lucky's place. Finding that Surly is alright, Andie embraces him and tries to get him to come to the other animals so he can tell of his heroism. But Surly, feeling as though it was the other animals that were the true heroes, refuses yet gains a willingness to work with others. He goes along to the city with Buddy, possibly to pull off another caper.

During the credits, the animals and humans dance with an animated PSY as he performs "Gangnam Style." In a mid-credits scene, Raccoon and Cardinal are shown to have survived the ordeal and are sulking on a harbor buoy surrounded by sharks while trying to come up with another plan. In the post-credits, Precious chases Mole who is holding a bone that Precious wants.



On January 17, 2011, it was announced that Lorne Cameron would be writing the screenplay for the film along with Peter Lepeniotis.[11] On November 15, 2012, it was announced that Katherine Heigl, Will Arnett and Brendan Fraser joined the cast of the film.[12] On March 1, 2013, it was announced that Liam Neeson joined the cast of the film.[13] On December 19, 2013, it was announced that South Korean entertainer, PSY would make a cameo appearance as himself during the film's ending credits which would also feature his hit song "Gangnam Style."[2]


The film was released in the United States on January 17, 2014, and distributed by Open Road Films.[14] The first teaser trailer for the film was released on September 27, 2013.[15] International distribution will be handled by The Weinstein Company.[16] The film had its premiere at a Regal Cinemas theater in Los Angeles on January 11, 2014.[17]

Home media[edit]

The Nut Job was released on DVD and Blu-ray on April 15, 2014 by Universal Studios Home Entertainment.[18]


Critical response[edit]

The Nut Job received negative reviews from critics. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, gives the film a score of 11% based on reviews from 68 critics, with an average score of 3.9/10, and the site's consensus is: "Hampered by an unlikable central character and source material stretched too thin to cover its brief running time, The Nut Job will provoke an allergic reaction in all but the least demanding moviegoers."[19] Another review aggregation website Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 top reviews from mainstream critics, calculated a score of 36 out of 100 based on 26 reviews.[20] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a B grade.[21]

Peter Debruge of Variety gave the film a negative review, saying "The Nut Job comes up short compared with a film like Ratatouille, which, despite its less-than-adorable rodents, won audiences over through appealing voicework and writing.[3] Alonso Duralde of The Wrap gave the film a negative review, saying "The Nut Job is merely shrill and frantic, chock-full of uninspired characters and tedious wackiness."[22] Michael Rechtshaffen of The Hollywood Reporter gave the film a positive review, saying "A whimsical period setting helps this 3D animated caper escape some overly familiar trappings."[23] Bill Goodykoontz of The Arizona Republic gave the film two out of five stars, saying "Arnett is a great comedic actor, an acidic wit. But here his Surly is just a selfish jerk. If there weren't some redemption involved, this wouldn't be a by-the-numbers animated feature. But it is, and there is, and it is wholly predictable."[24] Linda Barnard of the Toronto Star gave the film two out of four stars, saying "If The Nut Job fails to connect through its characters it deserves praise for being a visually inspired effort, with clear homage paid to 1950s animation styles, especially Warner Bros. classics."[25] Lou Lumenick of the New York Post gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying "The small-town setting of a half-century ago is beautifully animated by director Peter Lepenotis and his team, and there are some nicely staged old-school action sequences."[26] Chris Cabin of Slant Magazine gave the film one out of four stars, saying "There's no personality in the design or the script, which only renders the cynical aftertaste of this convoluted one-squirrel-against the-world story all the more potent."[27]

Jordan Hoffman of the New York Daily News gave the film two out of five stars, saying "The cartoon is stuffed with exhausting visual mayhem. Some jokes land, but most kids over 10 will roll their eyes."[28] Joe Williams of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch gave the film one and a half stars out of four, saying "The burnished backgrounds are pleasant to look at, but finding something to savor in the story is a tough nut to crack."[29] Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune gave the film one out of four stars, saying "The Nut Job fights its protagonist's own charmlessness from the first scene. Turning a dislikable leading character a little less dislikable by the end credits sets an awfully low bar for this sort of thing."[30] Rafer Guzman of Newsday gave the film one and a half stars out of four, saying "The overall mood resembles a furry, nut-based version of Stanley Kubrick's The Killing."[31] Peter Hartlaub of The San Francisco Chronicle gave the film two out of four stars, saying "Someone spent a lot of time making the architecture and production design match the era. Grandparents getting dragged to The Nut Job will be appreciative."[32] Annlee Ellingson of the Los Angeles Times gave the film a negative review, saying "The Nut Job features decent CG animation, especially of animals, but the writing isn't particularly clever, relying on obvious puns and slapstick humor."[33] Stephanie Merry of The Washington Post gave the film two out of five stars, saying "That feeling of been-there-done-that is pervasive, with many of the jokes sounding like they were ripped off from other movies."[34] Kevin McFarland of The A.V. Club gave the film an F, saying "The most egregious problem with The Nut Job is how shamelessly it fills in the gaps left by expanding Lepeniotis’ short with generic and tedious rogue-to-hero cliché."[35]

Joel Arnold of NPR gave the film a positive review, saying "Once Surly and Buddy case the joint, develop a plan, and deal with the inevitable surprises, The Nut Job could be any classic caper flick."[36] Scott Bowles of USA Today gave the film one and a half stars out of four, saying "When the story gets stale, the movie inserts a "nuts" pun or, worse, resorts to a gas or burp joke. It doesn't work the first time, nor the fifth."[37] Miriam Bale of The New York Times gave the film a negative review, saying "The Nut Job features muddy-colored and often ugly animation, a plot that feels too stretched out and loaded with details to hold the attention of most children, and more flatulence jokes than anyone deserves."[38] Adam Nayman of The Globe and Mail gave the film two out of four stars, saying "Only a multilevel chase sequence involving Surly and some glowing-eyed street rats has any real kinetic excitement, and the supporting characters lack visual distinction."[39] Bill Zwecker of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying "The bottom line: Kids may be mildly amused by The Nut Job, but adults accompanying them won't find much to capture their interest."[40] Kimberley Jones of The Austin Chronicle gave the film two out of five stars, saying "The richly hued CG animation is quite nice – a mix of hyperdetailed character work and painterly cityscapes and pastorals – and the script putters along with small but regular amusements."[41] Tom Russo of The Boston Globe gave the film one and a half stars out of four, saying "The plot doesn’t take clever turns, the visual thrills aren’t all that thrilling, and you’re ultimately left to get your heist-movie kicks elsewhere."[42]

Box office[edit]

As of April 16, 2014, The Nut Job has grossed $63,873,711 in North America, and $5,307,978 in other countries, for a worldwide total of $69,181,689.[5] In North America, the film opened at number three in its first weekend, with $19,423,000, behind Ride Along and Lone Survivor.[43] In its second weekend, the film stayed at number three grossing an additional $12,101,118.[44] In its third weekend, the film dropped to number four grossing $7,278,450.[45] In its fourth weekend, the film dropped to number eight grossing $3,753,080.[46]


The Nut Job
Soundtrack album by Paul Intson
Released January 17, 2014
Recorded 2013
Genre Film score
Length 1:08:00

The film's score was composed by Paul Intson. The soundtrack was released on January 17, 2014.[47]

Track listing

All music composed by Paul Intson.

No. Title Length
1. "The Nut Job Fanfare"   0:16
2. "Surly’s Lullaby / Community Gathers"   3:04
3. "Gotta Get Those Nuts / Lucky & Fingers"   1:27
4. "Andi & Surly"   1:17
5. "The Chase Begins"   1:13
6. "Jet Propelled Nut Cart / Raccoon’s Proclamation"   2:04
7. "Surly’s Trial & Banishment"   3:00
8. "Surly in the City"   0:48
9. "Surly’s First Night / Alley Rats"   1:45
10. "Rat Jeopardy"   1:58
11. "King Enters / Plan Revealed"   3:37
12. "Grayson’s March / Off to the City"   1:27
13. "Grayson’s Rescue"   0:43
14. "In Walked Lana"   1:10
15. "Precious to the Rescue"   0:37
16. "Nut Caper / Halleluyah"   0:49
17. "Sneakin’ Round Fingers & Lucky"   1:33
18. "Precious Changes Alliance"   2:47
19. "Raccoon’s Rally+march"   1:33
20. "Buddy’s March"   0:33
21. "We’re Not Saying? / A Precious Reveal"   1:02
22. "Dynamite"   1:41
23. "Lucky & Finger’s Brainstorm / Knuckles"   1:48
24. "On the Rooftop / Raccoon’s Plan Revealed"   2:59
25. "Lana’s Discovery / Water in the Hole"   1:32
26. "Precious to the Rescue / Mole Chase"   2:17
27. "Interrogation"   0:58
28. "Grayson’s Kudos / Rooftop Dissention"   2:28
29. "Surly Is Captured / King & Lana / Surly’s Set Free"   2:19
30. "It’s Showtime / Raccoon Revealed"   1:29
31. "The Heist Jump"   1:25
32. "Basement Jeopardy"   1:18
33. "Surly to the Rescue"   2:03
34. "Dilemma In the Van"   3:12
35. "Bridge Takedown / Over The Damn"   1:39
36. "Hanging By a Thread"   0:21
37. "Waterfall Battle / Surly’s Fate / A New Day"   4:23
38. "By Surly's Side"   0:54
39. "All Together Again"   1:48
40. "Final Fanfare (Version 2)"   0:21
41. "Final Fanfare (Version 1)"   0:22


Following the successful debut of the film, The Nut Job 2 was announced for January 15, 2016.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Rechtshaffen, Michael (January 11, 2014). "The Nut Job: Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 12, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d "PSY to Cameo in New Animation Movie "The Nut Job"". Soompi. December 19, 2013. Retrieved December 20, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Peter Debruge (2014-01-11). "‘The Nut Job’ Review: Squirrely Heist Movie Is No Match for Scrat". Variety. Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  4. ^ "The Nut Job". Screen International. 11 January, 2014.  (subscription required)
  5. ^ a b "The Nut Job (2014)". Box Office Mojo. 2014-01-17. Retrieved March 23, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Production information of the film". Retrieved January 15, 2013. 
  7. ^ Fleming, Mike (April 11, 2013). "Open Road Squirrels Away 3D Animated Pic ‘The Nut Job’ For January 17 Release". Deadline. Retrieved April 11, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b McNary, Dave (January 23, 2014). "‘Nut Job 2′ Set for Jan. 15, 2016". Variety. Retrieved January 23, 2014. 
  9. ^ "The Nut Job: Gabriel Iglesias On Set Movie Interview". ScreenSlam. YouTube. January 9, 2014. Retrieved January 10, 2014. 
  10. ^ Schillaci, Sophie (January 3, 2013). "Liam Neeson to Voice Villainous Raccoon in 'The Nut Job'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 21, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Disney Scribe Lorne Cameron to Crack 'The Nut Job'". The Hollywood Reporter. January 17, 2011. Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  12. ^ Fleming, Mike. "Katherine Heigl, Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser Lend Voices To Animated 'The Nut Job'". Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
  13. ^ Yamato, Jen. "Liam Neeson To Voice Villain In Animated Comedy 'The Nut Job'". Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Open Road Acquires U.S. Rights On ‘The Nut Job’". Variety. April 11, 2013. Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
  15. ^ "'The Nut Job' Teaser Trailer | Watch the video - Yahoo Movies". Yahoo Movies. Yahoo!. Retrieved September 28, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Weinstein Takes Nut Job". July 18, 2013. Retrieved December 21, 2013. 
  17. ^ Cassie Carpenter. "Katherine Heigl makes The Nut Job premiere a family affair with husband Josh Kelley and shy daughter Naleigh | Mail Online". Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  18. ^ "The Nut Job Blu-ray". Retrieved 2014-02-19. 
  19. ^ "The Nut Job (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 15, 2014. 
  20. ^ "The Nut Job Reviews". Metacritic. 2014-01-11. Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  21. ^ "'Ride Along' In High Gear, 'Hustle' Tops Oscar Contenders at Friday Box Office". TheWrap. 2014-01-18. Retrieved 2014-01-29. 
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  23. ^ "The Nut Job Review". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  24. ^ "'The Nut Job,' 2 stars". The Arizona Republic. 2014-01-12. Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  25. ^ "The Nut Job: Uninspired animated tale stars squirrels on a mission | Toronto Star". Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  26. ^ Lumenick, Lou (2013-12-31). "Comedic chestnuts pay off in animated ‘The Nut Job’ | New York Post". Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  27. ^ "The Nut Job | Film Review". Slant Magazine. 2014-01-14. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  28. ^ "Movie reviews: 'The Nut Job,' 'Big Bad Wolves' and 'Like Father, Like Son'". NY Daily News. 2013-06-25. Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  29. ^ Williams, Joe. "Animated 'Nut Job' is pea-brained : Entertainment". Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  30. ^ Michael Phillips (January 16, 2014). "The Nut Job movie review by Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips". Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  31. ^ "'The Nut Job' review: Squirrel's jokes are acorny". Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  32. ^ Peter Hartlaub (2013-10-16). "'Nut Job' review: A mix of the crude and the noir-ish". SFGate. Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  33. ^ Ellingson, Annlee. "Review: 'The Nut Job' 3-D animated movie doesn't quite crack it". Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  34. ^ Stephanie Merry. "‘The Nut Job’ movie review: The grouchy squirrel might grow on you". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  35. ^ Kevin McFarland (Jan 16, 2014). "The Nut Job is a tedious cookie-cutter family film". The A.V. Club. 
  36. ^ Arnold, Joel. "Movie Review - 'The Nut Job' - A Churl Of A Squirrel, On The Make In The Big City". NPR. Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  37. ^ "'Nut Job' is just a squirrelly clunker". Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  38. ^ "In ‘The Nut Job,’ a Surly Squirrel Plans a Heist". The New York Times. 2014-01-12. Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  39. ^ Adam Nayman. "The Nut Job: Going squirrelly, Gangnam-style". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  40. ^ Bill Zwecker (January 16, 2014). "‘The Nut Job’: Not much for adults, or maybe even kids". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  41. ^ "The Nut Job - Film Calendar". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  42. ^ Tom Russo (2014-01-14). "Movie review: ‘The Nut Job’ - Movies". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  43. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for January 17-19, 2014". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2014-01-23. 
  44. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for January 24-26, 2014". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2014-01-29. 
  45. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for January 31-February 2, 2014". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2014-02-05. 
  46. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for February 7-9, 2014". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2014-02-13. 
  47. ^ "‘The Nut Job’ Soundtrack Released". Film Music Reporter. 2014-01-25. Retrieved 2014-02-08. 

External links[edit]