There are 101 movies about the trials of becoming Santa Claus and how difficult bringing about such a level of holiday cheer is but films about the downside of delivering Easter eggs are few and far between. Hop sets out to redress the balance.
Little E.B. is the son of the Easter Bunny and, therefore, expected to take over the role when the time is right. But E.B. doesn’t really want to be the Easter bunny, he likes playing the drums so much more. Fred O’Hare (James Marsden) doesn’t know what he wants to be but he knows that nothing in the dull world of 9-5 work will please him, much to the disappointment of his parents (Elizabeth Perkins and Gary Cole). These two crash into each other, literally, when E.B. runs away from his Easter Island home and arrives in America to be hit by Fred’s car. After the initial disbelief and disruption, Fred decides to help E.B. and starts to help himself in the process.
Yes, you may well be mocking this movie already and you have plenty ammo to help you. It’s as overly sweet, predictable and brightly coloured as any other standard, kiddie-focused, celebration of Easter would be. It’s also mildly amusing and will delight kids of the right age group (or, indeed, any age group who can laugh at a bunny that poops out jelly beans).
Russell Brand provides the voice of E.B. and he’s very funny, his words are just as numerous and poetic as usual while the kids can enjoy the cute animation even if they don’t get every joke. James Marsden shows, once again, that he seems better suited to comedic roles than anything that tries to make him manly and moody. He does well in his interaction with the computer-created E.B. and gamely goes along with every ounce of sweetness and slapstick. Elizabeth Perkins and Gary Cole are convincingly parental as the parents, Kaley Cuoco gets a small and safe role as Fred’s concerned sister and I always grin whenever a movie features a small role for David Hasselhoff. Hugh Laurie is the Easter Bunny, E.B’s father, and does just fine while Hank Azaria steals most of his scenes as he provides the voice of Carlos, a chick who helps out the Easter Bunny and would love to be considered for as a replacement for the missing E.B.
The script, by Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio and Brian Lynch, hits all of the predictable marks but it also just keeps moving briskly along and there’s never a dull moment. Director Tim Hill has a back catalogue that may make adults squirm (he did the second Garfield movie and Alvin & The Chipmunks) but he knows how to keep the kids happy.
Yes, Hop is a movie that you will have to endure while your beloved little ones grin as a small bunny poops jelly beans but if you can put up with the bright colours and bright dispositions throughout then you may find yourself able to enjoy it. Not love it, but enjoy it.
DIRECTOR: TIM HILL
STARS: RUSSELL BRAND, JAMES MARSDEN, HUGH LAURIE, HANK AZARIA, GARY COLE, ELIZABETH PERKINS, KALEY CUOCO, DAVID HASSELHOFF
RUNTIME: 95 MINS APPROX