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The summer is almost over, but kids have one last potential bit of fun to enjoy before the season draws to a close. Unfortunately, that "potential" lies in The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature, a film that has very little of that specific factor. It isn't fun, it's not funny, and it surely isn't exciting. What it is is a waste of time and ticket money, giving the audience not nearly enough in return for the investments they lay down to see this film.
Surly (Will Arnett) and his pals are nice and settled in at a local park, after a careless explosion destroys the nut shop they called home. At least, they were, until the town's mayor (Bobby Moynihan) decided to demolish the park in favor of "Liberty Land", his idea of a theme park. Now it's a battle of man versus smallish beast, as the mayor has hired exterminators to clean up in time for the big opening, and our pals aren't going anywhere without a nutty fight.
The kindest, most polite thing one could say about The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature is that it's colorful. This second film seems to revel in the colors that the first film muted to a certain extent, though most of that is because of the Liberty Land setting being a typical Boardwalk experience. But even that seems to be a back-handed compliment, as those visuals are wasted on a story that can't keep up with the visual depth of the the 3D animation used to try and breathe life into this already tired franchise.
Most importantly, the characters of The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature don't really go into too many new places in this film. The most movement that can be had out of this film is that by the end of the film, two of its ensemble characters have paired off. Thankfully, solid performers like Bobby Moynihan, Bobby Cannavale, and Peter Stormare inject just a little bit of life into the film, but even that is weighed down by the material that's being given to them to work with. This film wasn't going to work, no matter who was cast, but at the very least the entire cast manages to make a little bit of a dent in the already odious material. And for all of you Jackie Chan fans, his "special appearance" isn't very special, as he's barely in the film.
We're not sure who had the idea of making The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature, but it is for certain that this person should be punished. This is quite possibly one of the most boring movies that I've ever had to sit through, especially in the realm of animation. None of the characters in this film are the least bit interesting, and the whole "everybody work together" plot line has been done to death. If there were decent characters, or even visually appealing gags, then there may have been a chance that this could have been a pleasant, if not rote, experience.
But instead, The Nut Job 2 merely exists to try and cash in on the late summer drought of quality children's titles. Considering how The Emoji Movie is trying to do the same thing, and with a much more horrible result, it may succeed. But that success could be considered Pyrrhic at best. If you see this film, it will drive you nuts in all of the wrong ways. You'll crack under the boredom, and be a-salted with its mediocrity. More importantly, that horrible run of nut puns will feel like a witty HBO comedy if you read it directly after. If you're looking to inspire your children to finish their summer reading, threaten to take them to see The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature if they don't.