In the general middling-to-good world of animated children's movies, Hoodwinked Too: Hood Vs. Evil is exceptional: It's outstandingly obnoxious. Full of manic momentum and nattering, witless word play, the movie has all the charm of a mudslide. Like many movies are this year, this is also a 3-D sequel, for the apparent sole purpose of allowing the theatres to tack a premium onto the ticket price.
The original Hoodwinked, released in 2005, turned the Red Riding Hood feature into a detective story about a stolen candy recipe. The second movie, also produced through The Weinstein Co., recycles several of the elements from the first film (this time it's a truffle recipe). Anne Hathaway, who provided the voice for the heroine in the first version, has moved on to better things and has been replaced by Hayden Panettiere ( I Love You, Beth Cooper).
Otherwise, the sequel once again wastes an embarrassment of celebrity voice talent, led by Glenn Close as the fearless Granny, Patrick Warburton as the vain but dopey Big Bad Wolf, along with Joan Cusack, Martin Short, Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong, Andy Dick, Brad Garrett and Wayne Newton. There seems little doubt that a cast this experienced could have provided a better script simply by improvising its lines.
That would seem particularly true for Saturday Night Live veterans Bill Hader and Amy Poehler as Hansel and Gretel, characters lifted from another carnivorous fairy tale. The two obese German twins are being held in a gingerbread house by a witch, Verushka (Cusack), who is preparing them for dinner, and the Happy Endings Agency, run by frog chief Nicky Flippers (David Ogden Stiers), wants them rescued.
When the Wolf and Twitchy the Squirrel (co-screenwriter Cory Edwards) fail in the mission, and Granny gets kidnapped as well, the boss calls in Red. She's off at a Chinese culinary and martial-arts monastery, called Sisters of the Hood, practising fighting a Shrek-like, trash-talking ogre.
With its ceramic figurine-like characters and storybook backdrops, Hoodwinked Too has a modicum of visual design, but it's spoiled by manic editing that shows no insight into the more leisurely requirements of 3-D. Add to the list of offences a succession of cringe-worthy ethnic stereotypes and a script mindlessly crammed with pop-culture references from Goodfellas, The Silence of the Lambs and Kill Bill. Here again, Hoodwinked Too manages to be outstanding in reverse: It's a feat to create jokes that can be simultaneously this stale to adults and inexplicable to children.
Hoodwinked Too: Good Vs. Evil
- Directed by Mike Disa
- Written by Cory Edwards, Todd Edwards, Tony Leech and Mike Disa
- Featuring the voices of Hayden Panettiere, Patrick Warburton and Glenn Close
- Classification: G