“The Croods” is a well animated film that will please younger audiences all over. Unfortunately, it’s not one that will stand up to the test of more seasoned movie-watchers, lacking in humor and riddled with plot inconsistencies. And of course, all you college students out there are seasoned movie-watchers.

The Croods

C
At Quality 16 and Rave

20th Century Fox


Eep Crood (Emma Stone, “The Help”) is a normal teenage girl. Oh yeah, except that she and her family are cavemen, the last surviving family from their “neighborhood.” The Croods live a life of safety and caution and spend days at a time inside their cave. But when an interesting (and cute!) boy arrives bearing a warning of the end of the world, Eep and the Croods must venture with him, outrunning the dangers of plate tectonics, vicious predators and, most problematically, each other.

The Croods’ prehistoric world has too many inconsistencies for the film to be credible. At first, the red, flesh-eating birds do just that: They leave their victims nothing but their bones. However, when Grug (Nicolas Cage, “National Treasure”) needs a way out of a sticky situation, for no explained reason these birds collectively lift Grug (apparently unable to let go?) and fly him away. At another point, the Croods happen upon a lake, and are shocked to discover water … you know, that one thing essential to organic life.

One thing that the film does successfully create is an emotional connection to the characters. Despite all the problems the film has, you can’t help but be worried for the family as the film reaches its climax. If you’ve had an especially tumultuous relationship with your father, it may even bring a tear or two to your eyes.

Emma Stone and Nicolas Cage, who voices Grug, are able to convincingly convey the struggles of a relationship between a father who thinks he knows what’s best, and a daughter who just wants to see the world and experience new things. The film finds its greatest strength in the character dynamic between these two.

The rest of the family seems to be there mostly to facilitate in the divide between Eep and Grug. The mother, Ugga (Catherine Keener, “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”), tries to be neutral, but can’t do so for long. Eep’s younger brother, Thunk (Clark Duke, “Sex Drive”) is obvious comedic relief — he’s chubby, incompetent, clumsy and easily frightened — but his jokes make you feel as though you’re laughing at him for being stupid, rather than at the ridiculous results of his stupidity, and even most kids are too nice to laugh at that.

“The Croods” will be semi-successful among children. It has enough childish jokes to make them laugh several times, and it will keep them visually entertained throughout. But this is not a film that will hit with older demographics the way that other DreamWorks productions such as “Shrek” and “Kung Fu Panda” did with well placed pop-culture references and developed characters. “The Croods” is able to do this to an extent, but sells out for cheap laughs too often and has too many secondary characters without much substance.

If you’re looking for a nice family film, then “The Croods” fits the bill perfectly. However, since you’re probably a college student, there’s no harm in missing out on this one.

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