Director: Tim Hill
Starring: James Marsden, Elizabeth Perkins, and Gary Cole
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Runtime: 95 mins. Reviewed in Nov 2011
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Rating notes:

This film is specifically timed for Easter release. It is a live-animated comedy that already has several video games associated with it. The title of the film belongs to a teenage rabbit, E.B. (voiced by Russell Brand), who is unhappy that he is the heir apparent, expected to take over Easter responsibilities from his Easter Bunny father (voiced by Hugh Laurie). Easter Chick (voiced by Hank Azaria), who is second in command at E.B.’s father’s candy factory, wants that job, but doesn’t get it.

E.B. leaves home to try to get to Los Angeles, where he wants to pursue his life goal of being a drummer in a Hollywood rock-and-roll band. In LA, he is hit by a car driven by Fred O’Hare (James Marsden), who lives with his disappointed parents, Bonnie and Henry (Elizabeth Perkins, and Gary Cole), and is jobless and lazy by inclination. E.B. feigns injury and manipulates Fred into taking him along. E.B. causes chaos for Fred, and is responsible for Fred failing a job interview that he really needs. Back on Easter Island, which is the home where Easter Candy is made for the world, a vengeful and disappointed Easter Chick takes E.B.’s father as prisoner, and E.B. and Fred join forces together to rescue him. Imprisoned themselves, they turn the tables on Easter Chick, and it all ends happily when E.B.’s father appoints both Fred and E.B. as co-Easter Bunnies. Together, E.B. and Fred, who is the first human Easter Bunny ever to get the job, save Easter and deliver the Easter eggs on time.

This film does not have an awe-inspiring, sophisticated plot, and it is limited by some very poor scripting. Being a children’s movie for the coming season, young children may enjoy it, if their parents are willing to sit through the movie with them. Virtually no attempt has been made to make it a genuinely appealing movie for adults, but there has been obvious energy put into its making. Billed as entertainment for families with young children, there are some scenes to try to keep adults happy, but they generally misfire, including the scene where a rabbit logo appears on the gates of Hugh Hefner’s house, and the real voice of Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy, warns people to stay away. The mixture of live acting and animated action works well enough, and there are some good moments that manage to stand out. An auditioning scene where E.B. pretends to be a ventriloquist prop for Fred is clever, and the operations of the candy factory on Easter Island fill the screen with vibrancy and colour.

Overall, this is a superficial movie, shallow and sugary at its centre, and it does not have a great deal to say about life, human values, or the Easter season. What you see is what you get, and at the end of the movie, you are not quite sure that the story that has been told was worth telling, or even worth the price of a child’s special treat at Easter time. “Alvin And The Chipmunks” (which Tim Hill also gave us) was a considerably better movie, and it is disappointing that in the Easter season, there is not much sign of family-togetherness in sight. Easter Bunny commercialism wins the day, despite a 60-sec. make-up between Fred and his father at the end of the film that is meant to ring true, but doesn’t.

Any charm of this movie rests almost entirely in the novelty of the mix between state-of-the-art animation and live action. The film has been classified G, but parents should know there are the odd spots of crude humour meant for them, and these maybe will rub off on their children.

It seems a shame to describe jelly beans as rabbits’ droppings. The point might be humorous to some, but it could spoil Easter for others.

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