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HOP

SYNOPSIS:
Fred (James Marsden) lazes around the house without a job, much to the chagrin of his father (Gary Cole) and mother (Elizabeth Perkins). When asked to house-sit a Beverly Hills mansion, he does so but literally runs into a talking rabbit named EB (voice of Russell Brand), who has left his home on Easter Island, dreaming of becoming a drummer. EB's father (voice of Hugh Laurie) is the Easter Bunny, who runs a busy factory where chocolate eggs and bunnies are manufactured before being delivered to children around the world at Easter time. While EB is not keen to follow 4,000 years of tradition and become the Easter Bunny, head chick Carlos (voice of Hank Azaria) has delusions of grandeur and sees this as his big opportunity to take control.

Review by Louise Keller:
An ultra cute family film catering for the under 12 set, HOP combines live action with the colourful animated world of the Easter bunny as it tells a happy story about families, expectations and dreams.

Like Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the central character is a bunny, but the bunny here is a youngster named EB (voiced by Russell Brand), who is more interested in pursuing his dream of becoming a drummer, than following in the family business. The family Easter Egg business, set on Easter Island, is a colourful wonderland of rainbow candy waterfalls, barrels of melted chocolate, egg moulds and silver wrapping machines as the bunny underlings and an army of fluffy yellow chicks work under the direction of the Easter Bunny (voice of Hugh Laurie) to deliver Easter goodies to children around the world. It's the Easter equivalent of Santa's workshop.

Similarly, thousands of miles away in Los Angeles, Fred (James Marsden) is also disappointing his father (Gary Cole), who wants his son to stop lazing about the house and get a job. Trouble is, Fred is at the crossroads and doesn't know what he wants to do. Fred is kicked out of home and is house-sitting a Beverly Hills mansion; EB has jumped into a transport beam destination Hollywood, where he hopes his dreams will come true. (The only baggage he takes is emotional.) It's when their two worlds collide as Fred (literally) runs into EB that things become interesting.

The mainstay of the film deals with the combative relationship between Fred and the EB and as a result there are some amusing situations. Highlights include EB's drumming audition for The Hof (David Hasselhoff is terrific), EB playing drums with a group of blind musicians who are not aware their drummer is a rabbit, EB performing at the children's Easter concert as Fred's ventriloquist doll and the scene when Fred's sister (Kaley Cuoco) spies EB pretending to be a stuffed animal and gives him a cuddle.

James Marsden is excellent as the dreamer who can't get motivated but the real scene stealer is Hank Azaria, voicing Carlos the ambitious chick, who throws a coup d'état when all his subtle attempts to rule with the Egg of Destiny are ignored. The facial expressions the animators capture for Carlos, with his disapproving eyes are priceless.

It's colourful and bright with plenty of happy smiles for the target market and their families.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

HOP (G)
(US, 2011)

CAST: James Marsden, Kaley Cuoco, Gary Cole, Elizabeth Perkins, Tiffany Espensen, David Hasselhoff, Chelsea Handler, Dustin Ybarra

VOICES: Russel Brand, Hank Azaria, Hugh Laurie, Diango Marsh

PRODUCER: Michelle Imperato, Christopher Meledandri

DIRECTOR: Tim Hill

SCRIPT: Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio, Brian Lynch

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Peter Lyons Collister

EDITOR: Peter S. Elliott, Gregory Perler

MUSIC: Christopher Lennertz

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Richard Holland

RUNNING TIME: 96 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Universal

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: Darwin: March 31, 2011; Other states: April 7, 2011







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