The Nut Job
|The Nut Job|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Peter Lepeniotis|
|Story by||Peter Lepeniotis|
|Based on||Surly Squirrel
by Peter Lepeniotis
|Music by||Paul Intson|
|Editing by||Paul Hunter|
|Running time||86 minutes|
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. It was released on January 17, 2014, by Open Road Films. With a budget of $42.8 million, it is the most expensive animated film co-produced in South Korea.
A sequel, titled The Nut Job 2, is scheduled to be released on January 15, 2016.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (January 2014)|
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.
- Will Arnett as Surly, a purple squirrel.
- Brendan Fraser as Grayson, an incompetent Eastern gray squirrel who is considered the "park hero."
- Gabriel Iglesias as Jimmy, a groundhog who is the leader of the Bruisers.
- Jeff Dunham as Mole, a mole who works for Raccoon.
- Liam Neeson as Raccoon, a raccoon who is a con artist and the self-proclaimed leader of the park community.
- Katherine Heigl as Andie, a compassionate red squirrel.
- Stephen Lang as Percy "King" Dimplewade, a mob boss.
- Maya Rudolph as Precious, a pug owned by Lucky who sides with Surly.
- Sarah Gadon as Lana, King's girlfriend.
- James Rankin as Fingers, King's fellow criminal who helps Lucky run "Maury's Nut Shop."
- Scott Yaphe as Lucky, the owner of the peanut cart who is Precious' owner and King's associate.
- Joe Pingue as Johnny, a groundhog and a member of the Bruisers.
- Annick Obonsawin as Jamie, a small groundhog and a member of the Bruisers.
- Julie Lemieux as Girl Scout
- Robert Tinkler as Buddy, Surly's best friend and rat partner who does not talk much. Tinkler also voices Redline, a mouse who idolizes Grayson.
- James Kee as Street Rat, Armored Truck Guard
- Scott McCord as Police Officer. McCord also provides the voices of the miscellaneous animals.
- Katie Griffin as Pigeon
On January 17, 2011, it was announced that Lorne Cameron would be writing the screenplay for the film along with Peter Lepeniotis. On November 15, 2012, it was announced that Katherine Heigl, Will Arnett and Brendan Fraser joined the cast of the film. On March 1, 2013, it was announced that Liam Neeson joined the cast of the film. 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."
The film was released in the United States on January 17, 2014, and distributed by Open Road Films. The first teaser trailer for the film was released on September 27, 2013. International distribution will be handled by The Weinstein Company. The film had its premiere at a Regal Cinemas theater in Los Angeles on January 11, 2014.
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." 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. Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a B grade.
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. 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." 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." 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." 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." 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." 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."
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." 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." 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." 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." 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." 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." 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." 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."
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." 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." 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." 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." 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." 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." 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."
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. In North America, the film opened at number three in its first weekend, with $19,423,000, behind Ride Along and Lone Survivor. In its second weekend, the film stayed at number three grossing an additional $12,101,118. In its third weekend, the film dropped to number four grossing $7,278,450. In its fourth weekend, the film dropped to number eight grossing $3,753,080.
|The Nut Job|
|Soundtrack album by Paul Intson|
|Released||January 17, 2014|
The film's score was composed by Paul Intson. The soundtrack was released on January 17, 2014.
- Track listing
All music composed by Paul Intson.
|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|
|11.||"King Enters / Plan Revealed"||3:37|
|12.||"Grayson’s March / Off to the City"||1:27|
|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|
|21.||"We’re Not Saying? / A Precious Reveal"||1:02|
|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|
|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|
|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.
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