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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If someone tells you they watch Saturday Night Live on Saturday night they are lying. If someone tells you they watch the entire episode and not feel like fast-forwarding through one or two (or all) of the sketches they are also lying. That is why my SNL viewing should take place on Sunday morning, where you can easily jump over the boring, painful bits. Plus, if you think it's enjoyable to sit through the same car commercial 7 times you are also so very, very wrong. Instead of reviewing all the sketches on Vince Vaughn's return to SNL, I break it down by what point I bailed on each sketch and why. Do you agree with where I gave up? Let us know in the comments below! Gun Control Cold Open: 3 minutes.When I Bailed: When Papa John's Pizza became the focus of the discussion. I'm afraid it was too close to the truth to actually be funny.Times I Laughed: 1
Vince Vaughn Audience Monologue: 4 minutes.When I Bailed: When Vaughn decided he was hosting the Maury show. Times I Laughed: 1
Al Pacino Biopics: 1 minute.When I Bailed: After the amazing Amanda Knox impression. Nothing could have topped that.Times I Laughed: 2
The Weather Channel: 2 minutesWhen I Bailed: Not long after 'Stormy Skies'' bumpy open. The corny soap opera for The Weather Channel would have been better if everyone just shouted out absurd headlines for moderate weather. I don't care about the precipitation in your pants, unless you're actually going to show us.Times I Laughed: 1
History of Punk: The whole thing! 4 minutes 30 seconds.When I Bailed: I didn't! This wasn't funny at all, but since it resembled VH1's entire TV lineup, I couldn't turn away. Times I Laughed: 0 Short Term Memory Loss Theater: 30 seconds.When I Bailed: When I realized this sketch wasn't only unfunny, but it actually put me to sleep in 30 seconds.Times I Laughed: 0
Weekend Update: 5 minutesWhen I Bailed: When Seth Myers started talking about the Cookie Monster. I did however stick around for the full 'Accidental Racist' sketch. Although it wasn't exactly original (they literally had Keenan Thompson quote LL Cool J's most recent interview at one point), it was necessary and still funny. Because when you have a song like 'Accidental Racist' and LL actually saying "It wasn't perfect," you barely have to say anything at all. Times I Laughed: 3 Junior Prom: The whole thing! 4 minutes 30 seconds.When I Bailed: Was probably a mistake, but I didn't! I'm a sucker for the prom, so I had hope. But things got weird when Vaughn removed his Liz Claiborne outer coat to snap dance with a boy with a half-mullet. Then, with a boy wearing an electric red cummerbund. It sounds funny, but it wasn't. Times I Laughed: 1 Roundball Rock: 2 minutes.When I Bailed: After the second rendition of "Basketball" when I felt a migraine coming on.Times I Laughed: 0
Last Call: 2 minutes.When I Bailed: After "blended genitals" was uttered. Times I Laughed: 1 (and it had to do with bar hair)
[Image Credit: NBC]Follow Anna on Twitter @thebrandedgirl
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Kids are vicious, especially when it comes to taunting fellow classmates who happen to have unique names. Parents may have thought they were selecting a creative name for their child in choosing Apple over Ashley or Knox over Kevin, but, unfortunately, other kids view originality as mean nickname potential.
Leave it to Hollywood to traumatize their kids in such a way; stars are the biggest perpetrators of naming their children something "different." And in 2012, celebrity moms and dads succeeded in coming up with some very weird names for their newborns. Good luck in school kids, you're going to need it.
1. Solo Uniacke: Die Another Day Bond girl Rosamund Pike's son, born May 6, is her first child. Could that be why she and her boyfriend, Robie Uniacke, decided to highlight their son's singularity with his name?
2. Breeze Beretta – Bristol Palin's ex Levi Johnston decided to name his daughter, born Sept. 12, after an Italian gun manufacturer. Breeze is Levi's second child — he has son Tripp with Bristol — and first with now-wife Sunny Oglesby.
3. Jedediah Lindsay Bowles: MasterChef judge Graham Elliot and his wife Allie went old school — really old school, like Old Testament school — when choosing a name for their son, born Aug. 25. Jedediah is a Hebrew name that means "friend of God." Elliot told People of choosing a name for his son, "Allie's dad's name is Jed and my dad's middle name is Lindsay. The names Jed and [Lindsay] don't get used often, and they're part of our family history, so why not embrace that?"
4. Kline Olivia: While it's a popular trend to give little girls names that traditionally go to boys — Jessica Simpson named her daughter Maxwell — Eli Young Band frontman Mike Eli and his wife Kacey seemed to have started their own trend. When they welcomed the birth of their daughter on July 30, they decided to go with a name that sounds more like a last name than a first.
5. Maple Sylvia Bateman: This is as sweet as it gets for Horrible Bosses star Jason Bateman and his wife Amanda Anka. While their first daughter scored the name Francesca, they decided to go with something a little more tasty when their second daughter was born on Feb. 10. Now all they have to do is drop the "lvia" from Maple's middle name and replace it with "rup." (Get it?)
6. Exton Elias Downey: Robert Downey Jr. and wife Susan's new son, born on Feb. 7, sounds like he belongs in the English court. Maybe Kate Middleton can borrow the name if she has a baby boy.
7. Clover Clementyne: Natasha Gregson Wagner and Barry Watson must have been munching on a piece of delicious, citrus fruit when they came up with the name for their daughter. Clover Clementyne was born on May 30.
8. Romy Hero Johnson: Sam Taylor-Wood and her husband Aaron Johnson have great expectations for their daughter, who was born in January. Move out of the way Wonder Woman and Black Widow, and make room for Romy Hero.
9. Blue Ivy Carter: Have you ever heard of someone being named Blue Ivy? We mean before Beyonce and Jay-Z's daughter was born on Jan. 7. We didn't think so.
10. Rosalind Arusha Arkadina Altalune Florence Thurman-Busson: Uma Thurman's daughter, who was born in July, sure is going to have a tough time remembering her own name. It's more than a mouthful.
11. Lion O'Loughlin: Roar. This little cub, born in October, is the son of Alex O’Loughlin and Malia Jones.
Follow Lindsey on Twitter @LDiMat.
[Photo Credit: INI/FameFlynet Pictures]
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Kings of Leon drummer Nathan Followill and singer-songwriter wife Jessie Baylin, 28, welcomed their first child, a healthy baby girl on December 26.
The 33-year-old new dad tweeted about their happy arrival, on the 27th: "I can proudly announce the birth of my sweet angel Violet Marlowe Followill. My heart has been stolen and it feels so good."
The baby was born in Nashville at 4:01 pm, weighing 7 pounds, 13 ounces, says a rep for the Grammy-winning "Sex Is on Fire" band.
Violet is the latest addition to the band's Followill family, with singer Caleb Followill welcoming daughter Dixie Pearl in June with his model wife Lily Aldridge and guitarist Matthew Followill welcoming son, Knox Cameron, last May.
The band canceled their U.S. tour due to exhaustion last year. With so many babies and a new album expected next year, try and get some sleep, guys.
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In a post-Harry Potter Avatar and Lord of the Rings world the descriptors "sci-fi" and "fantasy" conjure up particular imagery and ideas. The Hunger Games abolishes those expectations rooting its alternate universe in a familiar reality filled with human characters tangible environments and terrifying consequences. Computer graphics are a rarity in writer/director Gary Ross' slow-burn thriller wisely setting aside effects and big action to focus on star Jennifer Lawrence's character's emotional struggle as she embarks on the unthinkable: a 24-person death match on display for the entire nation's viewing pleasure. The final product is a gut-wrenching mature young adult fiction adaptation diffused by occasional meandering but with enough unexpected choices to keep audiences on their toes.
Panem a reconfigured post-apocalyptic America is sectioned off into 12 unique districts and ruled under an iron thumb by the oppressive leaders of The Capitol. To keep the districts producing their specific resources and prevent them from rebelling The Capitol created The Hunger Games an annual competition pitting two 18-or-under "tributes" from each district in a battle to the death. During the ritual tribute "Reaping " teenage Katniss (Lawrence) watches as her 12-year-old sister Primrose is chosen for battle—and quickly jumps to her aid becoming the first District 12 citizen to volunteer for the games. Joined by Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) a meek baker's son and the second tribute Effie the resident designer and Haymitch a former Hunger Games winner-turned-alcoholic-turned-mentor Katniss rides off to The Capitol to train and compete in the 74th Annual Hunger Games.
The greatest triumph of The Hunger Games is Ross' rich realization of the book's many worlds: District 12 is painted as a reminiscent Southern mining town haunting and vibrant; The Capitol is a utopian metropolis obsessed with design and flair; and The Hunger Games battleground is a sprawling forest peppered with Truman Show-esque additions that remind you it's all being controlled by overseers. The small-scale production value adds to the character-first approach and even when the story segues to larger arenas like a tickertape parade in The Capitol's grand Avenue of Tributes hall it's all about Katniss.
For fans the script hits every beat a nearly note-for-note interpretation of author Suzanne Collins' original novel—but those unfamiliar shouldn't worry about missing anything. Ross knows his way around a sharp screenplay (he's the writer of Big Pleasantville and Seabiscuit) and he's comfortable dropping us right into the action. His characters are equally as colorful as Panem Harrelson sticking out as the former tribute enlivened by the chance to coach winners. He's funny he's discreet he's shaded—a quality all the cast members share. As a director Ross employs a distinct often-grating perspective. His shaky cam style emphasizes the reality of the story but in fight scenarios—and even simple establishing shots of District 12's goings-on—the details are lost in motion blur.
But the dread of the scenario is enough to make Hunger Games an engrossing blockbuster. The lead-up to the actual competition is an uncomfortable and biting satire of reality television sports and everything that commands an audience in modern society. Katniss' brooding friend Gale tells her before she departs "What if nobody watched?" speculating that carnage might end if people could turn away. Unfortunately they can't—forcing Katniss and Peeta to become "stars" of the Hunger Games. The duo are pushed to gussy themselves up put on a show and play up their romance for better ratings. Lawrence channels her reserved Academy Award-nominated Winter's Bone character to inhabit Katniss' frustration with the system. She's great at hunting but she doesn't want to kill. She's compassionate and considerate but has no interest in bowing down to the system. She's a leader but she knows full well she's playing The Capitol's game. Even with 23 other contestants vying for the top spot—like American Idol with machetes complete with Ryan Seacrest stand-in Caesar Flickerman (the dazzling Stanley Tucci)—Katniss' greatest hurdle is internal. A brave move for a movie aimed at a young audience.
By the time the actual Games roll around (the movie clocks in at two and a half hours) there's a need to amp up the pace that never comes and The Hunger Games loses footing. Katniss' goal is to avoid the action hiding in trees and caves waiting patiently for the other tributes to off themselves—but the tactic isn't all that thrilling for those watching. Luckily Lawrence Hutcherson and the ensemble of young actors still deliver when they cross paths and particular beats pack all the punch an all-out deathwatch should. PG-13 be damned the film doesn't skimp on the bloodshed even when it comes to killing off children. The Hunger Games bites off a lot for the first film of a franchise and does so bravely and boldly. It may not make it to the end alive but it doesn't go down without a fight.