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Hoodwinked, the first animated movie released by the Weinstein Company, takes the classic story of “Little Red Riding Hood”—and mercilessly bludgeons it to death. In the poorly CGI-animated, Rashomon-style retelling, Red (Anne Hathaway) trots through the woods to visit the house of her Granny (Glenn Close). When she arrives, she is startled to find a wolf (Patrick Warburton) posing as her beloved relative, noting how much larger and hairier her features now appear. Shortly after, her Granny comes bursting out of the closet all tied up, and an axe-yielding woodsman (James Belushi) crashes through the window. All is certainly not well in this fairy tale.
The domestic disturbance sparks a criminal investigation lead by a squad including Chief Grizzly (Xzibit), Detective Bill Stork (Anthony Anderson), and Nicky Flippers (David Odgen Stiers). The story unveils the satirical truth about what really happened on that infamous day in the woods, telling four different views of the story through the eyes of Red, Granny, Wolf, and The Woodsman. Each perspective is riddled with secrets and inside jokes, showing there is more to these characters than what meets the eye. Red is not quite the innocent girl she appears; The Wolf is really a punny, undercover journalist trying to uncover the identity of a menace called ‘The Goody Bandit’; The Woodsman is a big yodeling oaf of an actor preparing for a role; and The Granny is an extreme sports junkie with quips like, “Yo, my homies, you want to get spanked?!”
It really is as awful as it sounds. The entire movie plays like amateur night at a comedy club, where it’s painful watching them try to be hilarious and fall on their faces. There is just nothing fresh or funny about a trash-talking hip-hop grandmother, dumb brutes talking like Arnold Schwarzenegger, or animals randomly breaking into song and dance. The sidekick characters—an off-key, country music playing goat, a screechy caffeinated squirrel, and a snooty rabbit—are even more impossibly irritating than the leads. Writers/Directors Tony Leech and Cory & Todd Edwards throw a minimum of twenty jokes per minute at us, choosing the path of boisterous annoyance over clever subtleties. Their mistake is in trying to squeeze a ton of things into its brief running time, instead of spending more much-needed time perfecting the jokes in the script.
Hoodwinked is a jumbled mess that is so grating and ear-piercingly shrill, that all potential from its premise is left stranded on the wayside. It is quite possibly the loudest movie in recent memory, between its screaming characters and blasting music. Someone should have told the filmmakers that the phrase ‘less is more’ exists for a reason. The movie feels outdated by at least five years, between its in-jokes involving Matrix fighting spoofs (gee, how original!), and stunted animation. The characters appear like rubbery wax figures, exhibiting none of the greatness that CGI has advanced to between Pixar films and the updated King Kong. It almost feels like the film exists solely to be bad, and on that front, it succeeds with flying colors. Hoodwinked, what big stink you have.