Directed by: Tim Hill (Alvin and the Chipmunks)
Starring: James Marsden, Russell Brand (voice), Kaley Cuoco, Hank Azaria (voice), Gary Cole, David Hasselhoff
Two things kept Tim Hill’s Hop from having ranked up there as one of the most torturous movie experiences of the year thus far—three, if you count the slightly hysterical brouhaha over this dumb movie’s “blasphemy,” but that’s another matter. The first came when a small child had to be taken from the theater screaming (I understood his or her pain). The second came near the end when a boy of about 9 blurted out, “I wanted the rabbit to die!” (That lad is eaten up with perspicacity). Now, you may notice that while the experience of seeing Hop was responsible for these outbursts of passing entertainment, the film itself managed none whatever so far as I am concerned.
I have nothing against the Easter Bunny. Indeed—and despite the fact that he brought less impressive gifts and provided far less school-holiday time—I always found the concept of a human-sized rabbit that walked upright much more entertaining than a tubby old gent in a red suit. Nowhere did I find anything of my notions—largely drawn from a 1940s photo of my cousin Eddie with a department-store man-in-a-bunny suit that hung in my Aunt Lillian’s hall—of this fanciful rabbit in Hop. Instead, I found something that might be viewed as Bugs Bunny on speed.
The plot involves the intertwined destinies of E.B (voiced by Russell Brand), the hare-apparent to the Easter Bunny mantle, and Fred O’Hare (James “When You Can’t Get James Franco” Marsden), a barely youngish man, who had a close encounter of the rodent kind with the Easter Bunny that apparently has marked him for life. Even allowing for the difference between movie age and real age, there’s something really creepy about the 37-year-old Marsden playing a guy who’s still living with his parents, has no job, no friends, no girlfriend or boyfriend (he’s apparently sexless), and no interests—apart from his Easter Bunny fixation. Naturally, their paths will cross when E.B. ditches everything to try to make it as rock ‘n’ roll drummer in Hollywood, and, of course, messes up Fred’s life in the process.
Look, I doubt you care any more than I do about how this plays out. Let’s merely note that E.B. defecates jelly beans and David Hasselhoff makes a way-too-extended appearance. There’s a ghastly—and unbelievably thoughtless—interruption of Fred’s adopted sister’s (Tiffany Espensen) bad rendition of “Here Comes Peter Cottontail” during a school play with a singalong version of “I Want Candy” from E.B. and Fred. There’s an attempted coup on Easter Island at the Bunny’s workshop by head chick Carlos (voiced by Hank Azaria). (Of course, labor trouble would come from that Hispanic chick.) There’s the interesting assertion that the Easter Bunny has been delivering candy for 4,000 years. There’s a solution for Fred’s aimless life that defies belief. And, most importantly, there are also at least half-a-dozen better movies at theaters near you. Rated PG for some mild rude humor.