Hoodwinked (2005) / Animation-Comedy

MPAA Rated: PG for mild violence
Running Time: 81 min.

Cast (voices): Anne Hathaway, Glenn Close, Patrick Warburton, David Ogden Stiers, Andy Dick, Jim Belushi, Xzibit, Anthony Anderson, Chazz Palminteri
Director: Corey Edwards, Todd Edwards, Tony Leech
Screenplay: Cory Edwards, Todd Edwards, Tony Leech
Review published May 3, 2006

Hoodwinked is a modern updating of the Brothers Grimm story, "Little Red Riding Hood", Rashomon-style, where the four central characters -- Red, The Wolf, the grandmother, and the lumberjack -- all give their own accounts of what they were doing that caused the events that we all know about the story to transpire.  Like most of the 3D animated features made today, it is filled to the brim with pop culture references, frenetically-paced humor, and a cheeky attitude.  While the quality of the animation doesn't even come close to the sophistication that similar releases are known for, the writing and storyline is clever enough to overcome its cheesy appearance.

If this were a Pixar production, this probably would have been lambasted by critics and audiences alike, so don't expect anything remotely approaching that caliber.  This is one of the early releases of the Weinstein Company, not exactly a major studio, and low expectations are a must in order to see beyond the herky-jerky animation and the cheese-ball soundtrack of songs to extract enough entertainment to satisfy.

While on the surface, Hoodwinked is a film that will primarily appeal to children, much of the humor will probably only be understood by adults with good memories.  While spoofs of The Matrix and xXx will be obvious to many viewers, not everyone will be sufficiently film savvy to get the Rashomon plotline, or the extensive references to the Chevy Chase comedy, Fletch.  Getting these gags may not be mandatory, but those that do understand them will most likely come away with a better impression of the film than those that do not, for the simple reason of appreciation of the obscurity.

Hoodwinked is recommended for those that enjoy all of the digitally animated features out there, especially those that like Shrek and its brethren. Mediocre production values notwithstanding, the humor is there, as is the requisite cleverness, allowing it to be a passable timewaster for all members of the family.

Qwipster's rating:

2006 Vince Leo