Film (with rating): Hop (PG)
Studio: Universal Pictures
Summary: Fred, an out-of-work slacker, accidentally injures
E.B., the runaway Easter Bunny, and must take him in as he recovers. As Fred
struggles with the world’s worst houseguest, both will learn what it takes to
finally grow up and do their jobs.
Review: It’s Easter weekend, folks. While I originally
planned on writing up a piece on “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
(look for it next week), I figured it might not be the most appropriate family
film for the holiday. So please to enjoy “Hop.”
animation/live-action flick is surprisingly charming. Perhaps it’s the British
accents. But more likely it’s the cute storyline and the likeable
characters…and the film’s ability to know it’s just plain silly. James Marsden
plays Fred, a lovable couch potato who accidentally injures a jellybean-pooping
rabbit named E.B. (perfectly voiced by Russell Brand), the future Easter Bunny.
E.B. ran away from his duties and destiny on Easter Island and ran smack into
Fred in Hollywood. What follows is a mix of life lessons learned, holidays that
must be saved, bad guys needing to be taken down a notch.
Despite the clichs
“Hop” is adorable. Both voice talent and live-action actors are
spot-on when it comes to delivering lines. Hank Azaria voices Carlos, a
power-mad chick and the elder Easter Bunny’s right-hand man, with hysterical
skill. The film almost seems to rejoice in its silliness, and for that it
succeeds. I mean, we’ve got David Hasselhoff making an appearance here, folks!
Silliness! Director Tim Hill (“Alvin and the Chipmunks”) somehow
found the sweet spot between stupid and adorable and set up camp.
As an added perk, Hill included
numerous stages of humor so the whole family can enjoy jokes on multiple
levels. Some of the humor touches on the toilet-humor variety, and yet other
segments reach a bit higher on the hilarity ladder. And it all works.
“Hop” is a great film to enjoy after succumbing to a Peep-induced
sugar coma on Sunday.
Extra highlight: You’ll be too wound up on sugar to sit
still for any extras. Go do some pushups or run around the block.
What to serve for dinner: Stewed rabbit. Kidding! I’m
kidding! Go with a traditional Easter feast of baked ham and creamy au gratin
4 russet potatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1 onion, sliced into rings
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 1-quart casserole
dish. Layer half of the potatoes into the bottom of the prepared casserole
dish. Top with the onion slices, and add the remaining potatoes. Season with
salt and pepper to taste. In a medium-size saucepan, melt butter over medium
heat. Mix in the flour and salt, and stir constantly with a whisk for one
minute. Stir in milk. Cook until mixture has thickened. Stir in cheese all at
once, and continue stirring until melted, about 30 to 60 seconds. Pour cheese
over the potatoes, and cover the dish with aluminum foil.
Bake 1.5 hours in the preheated oven.
What to talk about over dinner: What is your favorite Easter
memory? What does the holiday mean to you? What are your earliest memories of
the Easter Bunny? What is your favorite Easter candy? What’s your opinion of
Peeps? Do you eat the tail or the ears first when it comes to chocolate
bunnies? When was the last time you went on an Easter egg hunt? What is your
favorite color to dye eggs? What did you think of the animation/live-action mix
of this film? What about the candy factory on Easter Island? Have you ever run
away from your responsibilities? What’s your favorite jellybean flavor?