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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I'm going to go ahead and apologize to my old (British) roommates before I do type anything more here. Listen, ladies, you taught me so well, and I think I did alright--being the not-so-offensively-stupid American for a bit there--but for the sake of a little ha-ha on the Internet, please let the following bit slide, and please still be my friends when this is all over. Now!
'Ello, guvnor! Welcome to foggy ol' Londontown! Nah I ain't takin' the piss out of you (though I bloody well could at this rate!); the gang's all here! And I'll bet you Big Ben that Ricki's here, too! It's all jolly good and we have heaps to talk about, so let's get down to brass tacks you cheeky plonkers! Keep calm and carry on! Don't be daft! God save the Queen! Let's go to a chip shop! Yorkshire Gold! Biscuits! My use of Britishisms isn't dodgy at all, you guys. I swear.
Phew, OK. Now that's out of the way, we can continue this like adults.
So, London is old, you guys. Did you know that? I bet you did because you, like everyone here on this show, are very intelligent and know a lot about British culture. Oh wait, I'm sorry, you will see the opposite on the show tonight (I bet you are still very smart because you're reading this recap right now. You're also very handsome/pretty/attractive! Has anyone every told you? Have you been going to the gym recently? Wow! It really shows), because this is an American television show filled with Americans. We worked hard for that 'Average' in the worldwide education ranking!
Emily Maynard is under the weather this week, but is champing it out for the sake of a matchers peacoat moment with Ricki. After some sightseeing B-footage, we are treated to the knowledge that Sean has the first the one-on-one--also his first one-on-one date! "Love takes no prisoners!" the card screams at him (literally screams, because in England everything is like Harry Potter). So off our potential lovebirds go to take in all the sites of this magical city. They go sightseeing! Big Ben! Westminster Abbey! St. Paul Cathedral! Buckingham Palace! And duck-faced kissy photos at them all were had!
While strolling in the park, Sean mentions that he thinks good girls are hard to come by, and Emily thinks the same about boys. Because they are both very perceptive individuals. But hold up, let's just say what you're really trying to say here: very traditionally attractive people don't always also have great personalities. It's 'The Bubble.' Liz Lemon taught us about when she dated that really, really woefully dumb doctor with the claws for hands that was so good-looking and played by exception-to-the-rule Jon Hamm. Sean is all about "loving with an eternal type of love" and decides to take over for the jabberwockies hawking their opinions in the park by standing up on a soapbox to announce his feelings on love. This makes Emily all embarrassed and pitter-pattery in her heartsy places--even though she totally looks like she wants to stab him from being embarrassed. But apparently it's more that she wants him to stab her--metaphorically! (With his penis!) So everything is actually great. They end their romantic night with dinner in a prison. "It's where King Henry lived!" Emily says.
Up next is the Shakespearean group date with Chris, Arie, Ryan, Doug, Alejandro, Travis, John and Kalon. Kalon is all butthurt he didn't get a one-on-one, but hooray Jef for smiting Kalon's wishes. All of Kalon's butthurtedness is going to pay off in a big way later when he goes ahead and says that Ricki is "baggage." DUDE did you see what happened to the last bro that said that? And aren't you the son of a single mother? Do you want all of America to hate you or ALL of America to hate you? Serious question. Jef calls him an arrogant, egotistical a**hole to his face, which is fantastic. OK, Jef's good in my book, you guys. I get it now.
But back to that group date! It's time to be actors (it works better when you say it act-tohrs in this situation. Trust me)! One problem though; some of the boys have to play GIRLS--EW! GROSS! LADY PARTS ARE DUMB AND FOR BABIES! Shakespeare in the Park? more like Shakespeare in the Vag, amirite! High five, sweet lax bro! But seriously, this is brilliant. These dweebs--90% of whom will probably say off-handedly something like 'yeah, I'm taking some acting classes, seeing where it goes' during the reunion--are downright terrible in the most unintentionally comical way. Whichever producer came up with this idea deserves an Emmy. To make the two biggest d**ks play Romeo? You can't see it, but I'm doing a slow clap in front of my laptop right now. Additional highlights include Doug as the flying nun and Arie the tittastical nurse.
During the get-sloshed portion of the evening, Ryan D. Bag comes through with a pressie! A necklace! Emily calls it a stupid, vapid attempt at winning her affections that is slightly offensive...thoughtful? Wait, what? Ugh, ladies! Ladies, let's sit and have a talk, OK? Lady to lady, generic jewelry is the OPPOSITE of THOUGHTFUL. It's just a sparkly thing that Ryan thinks he can distract Emily with. You know I'm right. So mad this is working on her right now.
Next: Kalon outdoes himselfNot to be out-douched, Sour Grapes Kalon is annoyed. All the boys are atwitter about the comment from earlier in the episode, so they confront him about it. Obviously he said it and he admits it and says something stupid like "I am not going to retract it." GAME OVER, DUDE. Thanks for playing! See you on Bachelor Pad! You blew your dillwad nearly all at once. I'm so upset!
As expected, the dues are fuming. It is like testosterone central up in this date--I think I grew a mustache just from watching it (And how!). They've sniffed out the weakest member of the pack and they're going in for the kill. But before any of them have the chance to get all DIY about it, Doug decides to tell Emily--allowing her the chance to make the sacrificial kill. She is going to get "West Virginia, hoodrat, backwoods" on Kalon's ass. And DOES SHE EVER! Storming out of the room, she goes right after Kalon. She asks him if he said it, he admits it. He then tries to cut her off which results in the amazing line "I love to hear you talk but only when I'm finished" which I'm now going to use every single day of my life as soon as I get that Southern drawl down (the drawl makes it). "Do you have anything else to say? Then get the f**k out." And with that, another one bites the dust! BAIIIII KALON!
The guys all feel really good about themselves, but Emily is unhappy with the men. No one gets the rose! BURN. Just a note to homegirl, though: none of these guys are going to fight for you literally, because it would get them booted off the show.
Jef's one-on-one date is here and aww shucks, gee wilikers, doesn't all of this seem so swell? Life is grand and amazing. Jef is like a human Kewpie doll. I'm undecided as to whether or not that is a compliment. Anyway, he and Emily have tea and an etiqutte class which they promptly ditch (how uncivilized!) in favor of some fish and chips and pints. Pints! Goodness gracious, it's like they're in a real, live English pub or something. Jef makes some awful analogy about how Ricki is apparently the prettiest bag at the fancy bag shop. Which....???? Definitely time for this show to be over for the night.
Afterwards it's time for what admittedly looks like a super-radical date: dessert in the London Eye. Jef finally opens up about his feelings for Emily and says that he wants to be her best friend and be with her the rest of his life, which seems like the most practical approach of all the guys, and probably why they've been slower to connect. Maybe Jef is a slow burn. Emily is surprisingly smitten with this chap. I think he's going to be the surprise-pick for the Top Three, America. (You heard it hear first! Also my other top choices are Sean and Arie. Because, duh.) Obviously Jef gets the rose. Emily gives him the feeling people write fairytales about or whatever, so of course the harps and violins swell as he feels all of his millions of emotions and feelings and they kiss.
What I want to know is twofold: since Jef is from Salt Lake City, is he Mormon? And if so, does he wear the magical Mormon underwear? Can someone use the Internet and/or personal knowledge and get back to me on this? This is need-to-know information and not-at-all a joke.
Back at Intelligence Ranch, it's cocktail hour! Ryan is trying to speak in Shakespearian English to woo Emily and manages to make even Shakespeare sound unintelligent. That is a skill, you guys. Emily admits that she somehow manages to likes this a**hat, But! Even though she finds him nice to look at, she knows he's probably just a big ole piece of s**t. Glad you're just keeping it real or whatever, Ems. UGH. I just wish she would send his stupid, offensive, ignorant, sexist, a** home. She won't, though--because with Kalon gone the show still needs a villain to hate for the remainder of the season. Sorry, you guys. Ryan is here to stay until probably the Top 5. DOUBLE UGH. Speaking of, let's get to the eliminations!
Travis (who is this guy again?)
Don't call her name, don't call her name, Alejandro! She's not your babe. Benjamin Button Alejandro was 17 months old when he left.
Tune in next week when they go to Croatia! The previews hint at a ton of drama, so let's keep our fingers crossed that something terrible happens.
Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes
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A kids’ movie without the cheeky jokes for adults is like a big juicy BLT without the B… or the T. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted may have a title that sounds like it was made up in a cartoon sequel laboratory but when it comes to serving up laughs just think of the film as a BLT with enough extra bacon to satisfy even the wildest of animals — or even a parent with a gaggle of tots in tow. Yes even with that whole "Afro Circus" nonsense.
It’s not often that we find exhaustively franchised films like the Madagascar set that still work after almost seven years. Despite being spun off into TV shows and Christmas specials in addition to its big screen adventures the series has not only maintained its momentum it has maintained the part we were pleasantly surprised by the first time around: great jokes.
In this third installment of the series – the trilogy-maker if you will – directing duo Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath add Conrad Vernon (director Monsters Vs. Aliens) to the helm as our trusty gang swings back into action. Alex the lion (Ben Stiller) Marty the zebra (Chris Rock) Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) are stuck in Africa after the hullaballoo of Madagascar 2 and they’ll do anything to get back to their beloved New York. Just a hop skip and a jump away in Monte Carlo the penguins are doing their usual greedy schtick but the zoo animals catch up with them just in time to catch the eye of the sinister animal control stickler Captain Dubois (Frances McDormand). And just like that the practically super human captain is chasing them through Monte Carlo and the rest of Europe in hopes of planting Alex’s perfectly coifed lion head on her wall of prized animals.
Luckily for pint-sized viewers Dubois’ terrifying presence is balanced out by her sheer inhuman strength uncanny guiles and Stretch Armstrong flexibility (ah the wonder of cartoons) as well as Alex’s escape plan: the New Yorkers run away with the European circus. While Dubois’ terrifying Doberman-like presence looms over the entire film a sense of levity (which is a word the kiddies might learn from Stiller’s eloquent lion) comes from the plan for salvation in which the circus animals and the zoo animals band together to revamp the circus and catch the eye of a big-time American agent. Sure the pacing throughout the first act is practically nonexistent running like a stampede through the jungle but by the time we're palling around under the big top the film finds its footing.
The visual splendor of the film (and man is there a champion size serving of it) the magnificent danger and suspense is enhanced to great effect by the addition of 3D technology – and not once is there a gratuitous beverage or desperate Crocodile Dundee knife waved in our faces to prove its worth. The caveat is that the soundtrack employs a certain infectious Katy Perry ditty at the height of the 3D spectacular so parents get ready to hear that on repeat until the leaves turn yellow.
But visual delights and adventurous zoo animals aside Madagascar 3’s real strength is in its script. With the addition of Noah Baumbach (Greenberg The Squid and the Whale) to the screenwriting team the script is infused with a heightened level of almost sarcastic gravitas – a welcome addition to the characteristically adult-friendly reference-heavy humor of the other Madagascar films. To bring the script to life Paramount enlisted three more than able actors: Vitaly the Siberian tiger (Bryan Cranston) Gia the Leopard (Jessica Chastain) and Stefano the Italian Sealion (Martin Short). With all three actors draped in European accents it might take viewers a minute to realize that the cantankerous tiger is one and the same as the man who plays an Albuquerque drug lord on Breaking Bad but that makes it that much sweeter to hear him utter slant-curse words like “Bolshevik” with his usual gusto.
Between the laughs the terror of McDormand’s Captain Dubois and the breathtaking virtual European tour the Zoosters’ accidental vacation is one worth taking. Madagascar 3 is by no means an insta-classic but it’s a perfectly suited for your Summer-at-the-movies oasis.