For the bulk of every Rocky and Bullwinkle episode, moose and squirrel would engage in high concept escapades that satirized geopolitics, contemporary cinema, and the very fabrics of the human condition. With all of that to work with, there's no excuse for why the pair and their Soviet nemeses haven't gotten a decent movie adaptation. But the ingenious Mr. Peabody and his faithful boy Sherman are another story, intercut between Rocky and Bullwinkle segments to teach kids brief history lessons and toss in a nearly lethal dose of puns. Their stories and relationship were much simpler, which means that bringing their shtick to the big screen would entail a lot more invention — always risky when you're dealing with precious material.
For the most part, Mr. Peabody & Sherman handles the regeneration of its heroes aptly, allowing for emotionally substance in their unique father-son relationship and all the difficulties inherent therein. The story is no subtle metaphor for the difficulties surrounding gay adoption, with society decreeing that a dog, no matter how hyper-intelligent, cannot be a suitable father. The central plot has Peabody hosting a party for a disapproving child services agent and the parents of a young girl with whom 7-year-old Sherman had a schoolyard spat, all in order to prove himself a suitable dad. Of course, the WABAC comes into play when the tots take it for a spin, forcing Peabody to rush to their rescue.
Getting down to personals, we also see the left brain-heavy Peabody struggle with being father Sherman deserves. The bulk of the emotional marks are hit as we learn just how much Peabody cares for Sherman, and just how hard it has been to accept that his only family is growing up and changing.
But more successful than the new is the film's handling of the old — the material that Peabody and Sherman purists will adore. They travel back in time via the WABAC Machine to Ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, and the Trojan War, and 18th Century France, explaining the cultural backdrop and historical significance of the settings and characters they happen upon, all with that irreverent (but no longer racist) flare that the old cartoons enjoyed. And oh... the puns.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a f**king treasure trove of some of the most amazingly bad puns in recent cinema. This effort alone will leave you in awe.
The film does unravel in its final act, bringing the science-fiction of time travel a little too close to the forefront and dropping the ball on a good deal of its emotional groundwork. What seemed to be substantial building blocks do not pay off in the way we might, as scholars of animated family cinema, have anticipated, leaving the movie with an unfinished feeling.
But all in all, it's a bright, compassionate, reasonably educational, and occasionally funny if not altogether worthy tribute to an old favorite. And since we don't have our own WABAC machine to return to a time of regularly scheduled Peabody and Sherman cartoons, this will do okay for now.
If nothing else, it's worth your time for the puns.
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Now that The CW has canceled 90210 after five seasons, a question hangs over the heads of the actors who comprise the drama's hot, young ensemble: What next?
With their show's series finale airing Monday, May 13, the talented 90210 cast members have plenty of options ahead of them — especially since the decision to axe the show came in the thick of pilot season. The biggest (and best) idea at this point would be to capitalize on their CW fame and hop onto another show on the same network, either joining a recurring series or a new pilot. The CW loves to keep its actors in the family and recycle them across its different series (for which we are eternally grateful: If not for Cult, how else would we see the amazing Matt Davis every week after Alaric left us with tear-streaked faces following his Vampire Diaries death?). With that in mind, we've brainstormed some dream roles for each of the displaced 90210 kids. Here's what we came up with:
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AnnaLynne McCord has both the looks and attitude perfect to play a young, successful Manhattan woman in the '80s on The Carrie Diaries. Perhaps Carrie Bradshaw will need another mentor now that her first one is her boss at Interview magazine. Shenae Grimes has the sweet country girl act down pat (Annie was a nice girl from Kansas transplanted into Beverly Hills at the start of 90210), so maybe she can head to Bluebell, Alabama and befriend Hart of Dixie's Zoey Hart — the doctor's going to need a pal after her recent heartbreak thanks to Wade's infidelity. Matt Lanter's got the build and bravado to go up against Arrow's Oliver Queen in an action-packed fight, one that we are more than glad to witness. Especially if it's shirtless. But would he be a friend or foe to our favorite archer?
Jessica Stroup bears a certain family resemblance to Dillon Casey's Sean Pierce on Nikita, so she'd be perfect as one of the sisters he had to leave behind after he faked his death last week. Jessica Lowndes has the perfect dark looks to portray a vampire (either good or evil) on The Vampire Diaries — or the potential spin off series, The Originals. Michael Steger would be great in Greg Berlanti and Julie Plec's pilot The Tomorrow People, about young people who represent the next stage in human evolution. Tristan Wilds could check out Sera Gamble's pilot Company Town, a drama revolving around a scandal at a Naval base in Virginia.
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There are also other networks, though that's sometimes easy to forget between all the shirtlessness — why would you click anywhere else? Trevor Donovan has already signed on to guest star for three episodes on ABC Family's Melissa and Joey (in fact, his stint was announced mere hours after 90210's cancellation... now that's speedy, even by Hollywood's standards). Joining a show on a different network would give the actors a chance to build their fan base outside of The CW's target demo.
Of course, there's always the option to leave acting behind and fade away into obscurity... but something tells us these beautiful people will choose to stay on our TV screens one way or another. And that's right where we want them! What do you think the 90210 alums should do next?
Follow Sydney on Twitter: @SydneyBucksbaum
[Photo Credit: Patrick Ecclesine/The CW]
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New Family Members: Get ready to meet the whole Miller clan on New Girl. Not only will we meet Nick’s mom, Bonnie (Margo Martindale), in an upcoming episode, more of Nick’s relatives will pop up too. The League and Kroll Show’s Nick Kroll will guest star as Nick’s dim yet passionate younger brother, an air conditioner repairman named Jamie. Stand-up comedian Bill Burr will play Bobby, Nick’s loudmouth cousin and a TSA agent at Boston’s Logan Airport who is always fighting with Jamie. The Miller-centric episode airs next month, and finds Nick (Jake Johnson) and his roommates traveling to his hometown of Chicago. His friends soon learn that Nick is somehow the most mature member of his family. [EW]
Star Goes Buckwild: MTV's newest reality show, Buckwild, features twentysomethings in rural West Virginia partying and doing reckless things. For star Salwa Amin, the self-proclaimed "Bengali in Boots," life may have just gotten a little too wild. The 24-year-old was arrested on Sunday in a drug raid outside of Charleston, West Virginia. Amin was taken into custody with two other men after an informant tipped off the drug task force that a shipment of narcotics would be delivered to a home. Officers found Amin and two other individuals hiding in a shed outside, and a search subsequently turned up a large quantity of Oxycodone in Amin's purse along with three bags of heroin in the shed. All three were arrested and arraigned on a charge of possession with intent to deliver. They remain in the county jail with bail set at $200,000. No word on how this will affect Amin’s slot in the just-announced second season of Buckwild. [E!]
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Bad Boys, Bad Boys: Andre Braugher will play a cop once again. The former Homicide: Life on the Street star has booked a new pilot. He'll star as a police captain in charge of a diverse group of detectives in an outer New York City precinct. This one's a comedy, though, and Andy Samberg will play one of his screwup subordinates. [Deadline]
House Star Gets Scandalous: Lisa Edelstein has just booked a guest stint on ABC's drama Scandal. The former House star will play a client of Olivia Pope and Associates. [TVLine]
Ray Donovan Books Frank Whaley: Showtime's upcoming drama Ray Donovan has just cast veteran actor Frank Whaley opposite star Liev Schreiber. The drama revolves around a professional "fixer" for the rich and famous in Los Angeles as he balances his work demands and complex family dynamics. Whaley will play Van Miller, an FBI agent investigating illegal activity in Hollywood. The series premieres Sunday, June 30 at 10 PM ET/PT. [THR]
Follow Sydney on Twitter: @SydneyBucsbaum
[Photo Credit: Ivan Nikolov/Wenn]
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