After foiling Boingo the Bunny's fiendish plot in their first outing, Red, Granny and The Big Bad Wolf have all joined forces with Nicky Flippers to take a "what big teeth you have" bite out of crime. And their HEA (Happily Ever After) agency has been keeping ever-afters pretty cheery so far. But now they're faced with a big snaggletoothed case and, wouldn't you know it, Red is away on assignment.
The little heroine with the crimson cloak is sharpening her crime-fighting skills with a covert ops sisterhood of kung fu-ing bakers. (Someone's got to champion goodymakers everywhere, and Red is just the high-kicking goody-two-shoes to do it.) But just as she's being called back to help her friends save the chubby little tykes Hansel and Gretel from a wicked witch, Granny is kidnapped too. And then the Sisterhood realizes that the recipe for an extremely powerful truffle recipe has mysteriously gone missing.
This is all starting to sound oddly familiar.
Could Boingo somehow be up to his old dastardly deeds from behind prison bars? Could an even bigger power-pastry plot be at play? Has The Big Bad Wolf ever met a fake beard disguise he didn't like? Only time and a little fairy tale detective work will tell.
Red and Wolf both worry that they're not "good enough." Red fears she can't live up to her granny's reputation, and Wolf frets that he can't be as good at crime fighting as Red. But they both eventually learn that they don't have to live up to some imagined standard; they simply have to make the most of the skills and gifts they each possess. Granny says, "A person can never really fail unless they give up."
[Spoiler Warning] The witchy Verushka struggles with some of those same personal insecurities. She used to compete (in a heated, bad way) with Granny when they were young girls in the Sisterhood of Bakers. But after Granny saves Verushka's life, the two resolve their differences.
In the end, teamwork and friendship win the day. And quite a few characters apologize for deeds done wrong.
The Sisterhood of Bakers has an Eastern mysticism feel about it—with temple-like environs, kung fu fighting, baking rituals and sister devotees. Star Wars' Force gets a quick shout-out. When Granny is kidnapped, Nicky Flippers starts praying for her with, "Now I lay me down to sleep …" It's apparently the only prayer he knows.
The fast-talking Twitchy is portrayed this time around as something of a ladies' squirrel. When Wolf knocks on his door, the smoking jacket-clad rodent ushers out two shapely girl squirrels—one of whom gives him a big smooch.
Three pig thugs blow up Wolf's home with a bazooka. A giant spider—who wields eight eyes and pointy teeth—pursues our heroes. A witch threatens to eat a pair of kids, saying, "Chicken tastes like children." Brother and sister giants smash their way through the city, tossing automobiles and trolley cars as they go.
Red is slapped around by that pair of giants. But she gets in on the pounding action, too. She beats up a massive troll with kung fu punches and roundhouse kicks, finishing him off with a kick to the crotch. Wolf, however, is the sorest victim in the crotch-thump category: He's hit there at least three or four times.
An elder in the Sisterhood of Bakers is repeatedly hit in the head with a rolling pin and stepped on while unconscious. The franchise's singing goat becomes part of a running joke (à la the saber-toothed squirrel/rat Scrat from the Ice Age movies) that finds him repeatedly walloped, pummeled and dropped into deep holes.
Crude or Profane Language
Channel surfing through an old Star Trek episode, Wolf encounters a use of "d‑‑mit." We also hear "heck," "jeez," "oh schnitzel" and, in the name-calling category, "dum-dum." A character refers to herself as a "big pile of No. 2."
Drug and Alcohol Content
Stoner comedians Cheech and Chong play two pig thugs, and when knockout gas envelopes them, one of them quips that it's "like the '70s!" In Twitchy's love nest he serves drinks with little umbrellas.
Other Negative Elements
Toilet humor is much more prevalent in this Hoodwinked sequel than in the original. For example, the goat is singing about strolling down the safe city streets when a giant falls out of the sky and sits on him. His tune trails off with, "And now I'm in a dark tunnel." Also, the plummeting Wolf lands hard with a thump to the crotch and says with a grimace, "I can taste my own butt." A number of flatulence jokes made it into the script. For instance, when an elevator car begins filling with noxious fumes, Wolf sniffs the air and states, "Perhaps the children are nervous and have to let off a little tension."
Now a big time performer, Kirk the yodeling woodsmen comes across as … less masculine than you might think he should. Pop culture references give nods to the likes of Casino and Silence of the Lambs.
The first Hoodwinked, with its blocky animation and silly-but-cute musical numbers, wasn't a huge box office hit back in 2006. But that doesn't mean it didn't have quite a bit going for it. Its clever crime scene deconstruction of the "Little Red Riding Hood" fairy tale was fresh, funny and family-viewable—with just the right amount of eye-rolling cheek.
So you can bet there are quite a few moms, dads and (now a little older) kids who'll be wondering if Red and the gang can maintain their charm and deliver an even better part Too!
Well. Like lightning, chuckle-worthy tales don't always strike in the same place twice. The chaotic, overstuffed sequel is a much more hit-or-miss affair, with creative whodunit twists and turns having been replaced with a whole lot of flailing fairy tale quips tossed up on the screen in hopes that something might stick and illicit a grin or two.
My reaction was more of a grimace. And a few times it even deepened into a scowl when the gas gags and crotch thumps started to stiff-arm the more pleasant fare. In the movie's words, "The fan is about to be hit with the doodie." And that kind of lowball antic gets very old, very quickly.
"Let's all work together" is the positive remedy here. And that's a great theme for kids. (For adults too!) I just wish it wasn't reduced to the status of a store-bought salve, dabbed sparingly onto all the boo-boos.
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Voices of Hayden Panettiere as Red Riding Hood; Glenn Close as Granny Puckett; Patrick Warburton as The Big Bad Wolf; Joan Cusack as Verushka the Witch; Andy Dick as Boingo the Bunny; David Ogden Stiers as Nicky Flippers
Mike Disa ( )
The Weinstein Company
April 29, 2011
August 16, 2011