Now Playing: ‘Hop’ Stumbles

‘Hop’, the new animation/live action hybrid from the folks who brought us ‘Despicable Me‘, aspires for greatness. In its own simplistic way, the movie strives to be a new holiday classic, in the tradition of ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas‘ or ‘Elf‘ or ‘The Santa Clause’… except, you know, Easter-themed. But it falls so painfully short that the movie, mediocre on the outset, feels even more inane and pointless.

The premise revolves around E.B. (voiced by Mr. Katy Perry himself, Russell Brand), who is about to inherent the title of Easter Bunny from his father, Mr. Bunny (Hugh Laurie). It’s just that E.B. doesn’t want to be the Easter Bunny, so he jets away from the bunny headquarters (located on Easter Island, obviously) to Hollywood to follow his dream of becoming a rock ‘n roll drummer.

It’s here that the movie goes from being strictly animated to an animation/live action hybrid. It’s also here that he meets James Marsden, who plays a slacker whose father also pushes him in the direction of doing… something. Things become increasingly banal.

There are a bunch of silly subplots that orbit around the main, mismatched duo core of ‘Hop’. A trio of deadly ninja bunnies track E.B. The leader of the Easter Bunny’s helpful chicks (played, with a Spanish accent for some reason, by Hank Azaria) plots a coup d’état. There’s even an extended cameo from David Hasselhoff. None of it makes any sense, and it all does little but clog up the film’s already disjointed and sluggish sense of narrative flow.

At some point, the movie takes a turn, when Marsden wants to become the first human Easter Bunny. There’s no real explanation for this, and the idea seems arbitrary more than anything else. It feels less like a character impulse than a way out from the knot of loose ends and satellite subplots.

The movie borrows elements from so-called holiday classics, in a blatant attempt to create its own level of annual authenticity. But everything seems so forced and calculated and dull that it’s hard to muster much enthusiasm to watch this once, much less once a year.

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