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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People reports that Katie Couric is newly engaged. The news anchor and talk show host accepted a proposal from her boyfriend of two years, banker John Molner, over the holiday weekend.
Couric struggled with her love life after Jay Monahan, father of their two daughters, succumbed to colon cancer in 1998 after nine years of marriage. But she's never been opposed to settling down, telling Parade in 2012, "I’m the marrying kind, even though I’ve only been married once. I like the idea of having a life partner."
Since her first husband's death, Couric kept busy, raising her two children, starting several cancer centers and charities to honor Monahan's memory, and breaking television barriers to become the first female head news anchor of CBS News for five years. While Couric did date sporadically, including a high profile relationship with Brooks Perlin, a hedge fund manager and entrepenuer (who also happens to be 17 years her junior), it only took two years before she knew Molner was the one. With a dating history that includes Larry King, Bob Sagat, Jeff Probst, and turning down Michael Jackson, it must be a relief for Couric to finally end her search.
Yes it's true! So touched by all the kind Tweets & warm wishes-thank you! A great end to the summer & looking fwd to seeing you all Monday!!
— Katie Couric (@katiecouric) September 3, 2013
Happy to confirm engagement rumors on Twitter (above), Couric has a second reason to celebrate this week — her talk show, Katie, returns Sept. 9th. Perhaps viewers will be treated to an on-air reveal of her (no doubt spectacular) ring. The couple has yet to release any other details about their upcoming wedding.
More:Meredith Viera Pulls a Katie Couric with New Talk ShowNewswoman Katie Couric Turned Down Date with Michael JacksonKevin James Reunited with High School Wrestling Pal Mick Foley on 'Katie'
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Top Story: Spidey 3 on the Way!
Although they are snarled in a web of litigation over Spider-Man licensing fees and revenue, Sony Pictures and comic book publisher Marvel Enterprises Inc. are already looking ahead at a third Spider-Man blockbuster, Reuters reports. "[The] best-case scenario I can tell you is [the film will be released] 2006. It is a big movie, and we would rather play it safe and talk about 2007 at this point," Marvel's film chief Avi Arad told Reuters. Spider-Man was the highest grossing film of 2002, amassing over $800 million in worldwide ticket sales, and it still holds the box office record for the biggest three-day domestic debut ever with $115 million in ticket sales. Spider-Man 2 is set to hit theaters July 2.
Basinger, Baldwin Settle Child Custody Dispute
Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin resolved their child custody battle over their 8-year-old daughter, Ireland, The Associated Press reports. Baldwin, who lives in New York, was seeking an "equal share" of parenting with Basinger, who lives in California, while the actress was asking for sole custody, with visitation rights for Baldwin. A Superior Court judge ruled in favor of Baldwin, the television program Celebrity Justice reported.
Spielberg Sidesteps Passion Questions
Steven Spielberg is not responding to questions about Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. At a press conference to promote the DVD release of his Oscar-winning Holocaust movie Schindler's List, Reuters reports the director said he was "too smart" to answer any questions about the controversial film, which has been called anti-Semitic, since he had yet to see it. "I certainly am not going to comment based on circumstantial evidence from what I've been hearing and feeling in the last seven or eight days," Spielberg said. "When I do see the film, the first person who will hear from me will be Mel Gibson and no one else," he added. Spielberg did comment that in the decade since the release of Schindler's List, the world has become a "very sad place again," which shows that people "don't really learn that much from history, and they need to."
Rowling Gives Hints to Next Book
J.K. Rowling, author of the wildly popular Harry Potter books, says she won't give any secrets away about her last two books in the series but promises fans that even tougher times await the young wizard. "In Book Six, the wizarding world is really at war again and he has to master his own feelings to make himself useful," Reuters reports Rowling said in a live Web chat Thursday. "If personally I was Harry Potter, I would hide because I know what is coming," she said. Rowling also added there would be no prequels. "You won't need them. By the time I've finished you'll have all the back story you need."
NBC Files Countersuit Against Will & Grace Creators
NBC has filed a counterclaim to Will & Grace creators David Kohan and Max Mutchnick's lawsuit, in which they allege the network shortchanged them in renewing the hit sitcom. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the network, in turn, accused the duo of being "duplicitous" in their dealings at the negotiation table. NBC's cross-complaint maintains that Kohan and Mutchnick and their "handlers" had always planned to sue the network over the license fee deal struck in 2002 for Will & Grace, even though NBC claims they involved the creators and their attorneys and agents in the license fee renegotiations that took place in late 2001 and early 2002.
UPN Signs Up Missy Elliot
Calling all aspiring rappers. UPN announced it will launch a new "dramality" series tentatively called the Missy Elliott Project, in which the superstar rapper will tour the country with a group of aspiring rap stars, advising them as they compete in weekly elimination challenges as well as meeting industry bigwigs while the show's cameras chronicle their every move, Reuters reports.
DeGeneres Tops Daytime Emmy Nominations
Ellen DeGeneres' new talk show was nominated for 12 Daytime Emmy Awards, the most of any daytime talk show, AP reports, including best host. Joining her in that category are Dr. Phil McGraw; Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa of Live!; and The View crew of Meredith Vieira, Star Jones, Joy Behar and Barbara Walters. Vieira was also nominated for best game show host for Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, and will compete against veterans Bob Barker of The Price is Right and Alex Trebek of Jeopardy!. The Young and the Restless led the soap opera pack with 16 nods, All My Children and As the World Turns earned 14 apiece, with 12 for General Hospital and Guiding Light. The 31st annual Daytime Emmy Awards are set to air on NBC May 21 from New York's Radio City Music Hall.
Newest Batman Shooting Now
Memento director Christopher Nolan has commenced production in Iceland on his highly anticipated superhero feature Batman Begins. The film stars Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman; Michael Caine as his trusted butler, Alfred; Katie Holmes as Wayne's childhood friend, Rachel; Liam Neeson as Wayne's mentor, Henri Ducard; Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, a former Wayne Enterprises board member and sidelined employee; Ken Watanabe as the villainous Ra's Al Ghul; and Gary Oldman, who just signed on as Lt. James Gordon, a detective on the Gotham police force.
Paul Hogan, whose third Crocodile Dundee yarn will open April 20, is disputing a Writers Guild of America decision to award the film's writing credits to Matthew Berry and Eric Abrams, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Hogan said he wrote the original screenplay, invented the characters and developed the jokes for Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles, a far cry from the "characters created by" credit the WGA awarded him.
"I have an ongoing problem with the Writers Guild because I am also the producer," Hogan told the Hollywood Reporter. "The producer is the natural enemy of the writer."
In Hogan's corner: Simon Wincer, who said that he directed a script written by Hogan.
The guild considers "any challenge a good-faith disagreement" and would prevail should Hogan sue, a WGA spokeswoman told the Hollywood Reporter.
Drescher to write about fight against cancer
Fran Drescher will receive $1 million from Warner Books to pen a memoir chronicling her battle against uterine cancer, according to Variety.
Drescher, whose CBS sitcom The Nanny ended in 1999 after six years, managed to beat the cancer because of an early diagnosis. She discussed her fight in an interview in the May issue of Rosie, the new magazine published by talk-show host Rosie O'Donnell.
Drescher also wrote about her career in Whining.
Ex-Beatle may sell mansion because of 1999 attack
George Harrison has told friends that he may sell the 120-room mansion where he was attacked and stabbed in December 1999 by an intruder, according to Britain's The Mail on Sunday.
The ex-Beatle's 34-acre estate, in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, could be placed on the market for 15 million pounds ($21.56 million). He purchased the mansion in 1970 for 135,000 pounds ($194,000).
Harrison almost died when Michael Abram punctured his lung with a knife. Harrison's wife, Olivia, saved him by striking Abram with a poker. He is now serving an indefinite term in a psychiatric hospital.
Rosie O'Donnell calls on friends to host show
Talk-show host Rosie O'Donnell will continue to recuperate this week after undergoing a medical procedure related to a previous injury, according to the New York Daily News. O'Donnell has called on Barbara Walters, Meredith Vieira, Caroline Rhea and Kathy Griffin to guest host her talk show.
Last week, O'Donnell had a wound on her left hand drained. She cut herself in August when she removed a price tag from a fishing pole belonging to son Parker.
Gandolfini makes Rutgers an offer it can't refuse
Mess with Rutgers University's besieged football team and you could find yourself sleeping with the fishes.
Alumnus James Gandolfini has filmed a morale-boosting commercial for the team, which endured a 3-8 record last season. Gandolfini, who displays his prolific powers of persuasion as The Sopranos' mob boss, appears in the commercial with new coach Greg Schiano.
De Niro to Lopez: "Love Me or Leave Me"
Jennifer Lopez may string Robert De Niro along in a remake of the 1955 romance, Love Me or Leave Me, for Warner Bros., according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The original starred Doris Day as an up-and-coming singer who woos Chicago racketeer James Cagney purely to advance her career.
Unlike the original, the proposed remake would not be based on the real-life story of 1930s singer Ruth Etting.
De Niro and Lopez would each likely squeeze another film into their schedules should they decide to make Love Me or Leave Me. De Niro's slate includes sequels to Analyze This and Meet the Parents; Lopez recently dropped out of the Francis Ford Coppola-produced biopic of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo to negotiate a $10 million paycheck for Taking Lives, a thriller Tony Scott may direct.
Roberts' "Sweethearts" dances against De Niro's "The Score"
Better scratch plans to spend Independence Day with Julia Roberts.
Sony has pushed back the Oscar winner's new comedy, America's Sweethearts, from July 4 to July 13, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Roberts will go head to head with MGM's just-confirmed Legally Blonde, a comedy starring Reese Witherspoon, and Paramount's The Score, a heist flick headlined by masters of method acting Robert De Niro, Marlon Brando and Edward Norton.
Rather than compete against itself, Sony also has moved its expensive CGI-animated epic Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within from July 13 to July 11.
MGM also announced it will release the oft-delayed Original Sin, a steamy period thriller pitting Antonio Banderas against Angelina Jolie, on Aug. 3 and its Rollerball remake possibly on Aug. 17.
Besson loses "Yamakaso" lawsuit
French director Luc Besson's production company must pay $50,000 to writer-director Julien Seri, who sued after being fired from the Besson-produced thriller Yamakaso, according to Variety.
The French labor court, ruling in Seri's favor, dismissed a suggestion by Besson's production company, LeeLoo, that Seri had been asked to resign.
Seri and Yamakao co-writer Phillippe Lyon recently lost their legal bid to halt the release of the film, which hit French theaters Wednesday.
Universal snaps up EMusic.com
Universal Music Group will purchase Web song-swap service EMusic.com for close to $23 million in cash, EMusic.com announced Monday.
Universal will pay 57 cents for each outstanding EMusic.com share.
The service, founded in 1998, first operated on a fee-per-download basis. It began offering a subscription service as an alternative to Napster, which allowed users to download music for free, in most cases without the music industry's permission.
EMusic also operates such sites as RollingStone.com and DownBeat.com.
"EMusic represents a tremendous group of assets that appeal to a wide range of music fans, including the popular RollingStone.com and DownBeat.com brands and a deep catalog of digital music," said Larry Kenswil, president, eLabs, Universal Music Group, in a statement posted Monday on EMusic.com. "We feel that EMusic complements Universal's other digital and Internet initiatives and we look forward to joining with them to offer music lovers more and more compelling online destinations and experiences."
The 28-year-old stepbrother of "Titanic" superstar Leonardo DiCaprio is in a Los Angeles area jail today on $1 million bail. The allegation: Suspicion of attempted murder.
Adam Farrar, himself an actor, who appeared in the controversial kiddie-bank-robber indie flick "Pups," was arrested about noon Wednesday at a home in Marina Del Rey, Calif., after an alleged attack on his girlfriend, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department says.
Leonardo DiCaprio Upon being taken into custody, Farrar told deputies he was Leo's stepbrother. While the familial factoid is true (Leo's camp confirmed as much today), authorities say they're not sure why Farrar offered that by way of ID info.
In addition to the attempted-murder booking, Farrar was also accused of making "terrorist threats" against his (unidentified) girlfriend.
Farrar (listed in the credits of "Pups" as "Ferrar") and DiCaprio are not related by blood. They became family when Farrar's bodybuilder mother married DiCaprio's underground-comic-guru father. Farrar was the first star of the family, doing commercials as a kid. He later left acting for other pursuits, including a stint in the Army.
In 1999, he was named one of Hollywood's "30 Under Thirty" to watch by TNT's Rough Cut movie Web site (www.roughcut.com). "I would love to work with [DiCaprio]," Farrar told the site. "I'm leaving all my options open at this point."
It wasn't known if DiCaprio, 25, was aware of Farrar's current straits. "He has no comment," DiCaprio's publicist, Ken Sunshine, said today of the actor.
TRAGEDY: Mia Farrow is mourning the loss of her 19-year-old child, who died last weekend of a cardiac arrest, it has been revealed. Tam Farrow -- born in Vietnam and adopted by Farrow in 1992 -- had a history of medical problems. She was blind and had been hospitalized as recently as last week in Connecticut. Mia Farrow, 55, is almost as famous for raising a seemingly unmanageable brood of children as for her films ("The Purple Rose of Cairo," "Death on the Nile") or for her tabloid-friendly breakup with longtime love Woody Allen in 1992. Tam Farrow was one of the actress' 14 children -- 10 of whom are adopted. Farrow is also a grandmother by estranged daughter Soon-Yi. Allen, 64, and Soon-Yi adopted a child of their own in 1998.
OSCAR WATCH: Mel Gibson has enlisted to present, and supermodel Tyra Banks and MTV News' Chris Connelly have enlisted to co-host, ABC's red-carpet arrivals parade (now dubbed "Countdown to Oscars 2000") with "The View" gabber Meredith Vieira. Most disturbingly, Ray Charles, Isaac Hayes, Whitney Houston, Queen Latifah and baseball player Garth Brooks have enlisted to perform a "special song medley" on the main telecast. For this they ditched the dance numbers?
GOOD COUNTRY PEOPLE: Singer Faith Hill ("Breathe") lassoed eight nominations, including one for best entertainer, as the field for the TNN Music Awards was announced today. Hubby Tim McGraw scored five. Winners will be announced June 15 in Nashville.
THE SIMILARITIES ARE STARTLING? A Pennsylvania woman has filed a federal lawsuit against the author of the mega-selling-soon-to-be-a-major-motion-picture "Harry Potter" series, claiming that J.K. Rowling ripped off her non-mega-selling-not-soon-to-be-a-major-motion-picture 1984 novel, "The Legend of Rah and Muggles."
PEOPLE WHO GET PERMITS ARE THE LUCKIEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD: Barbra Streisand and hubby James Brolin have gotten the go-ahead from the Malibu City Council to rip down one of their houses and build a new one in its place. That's what rich people call spring cleaning.