Most holidays have a family-friendly movie to capitalize on the massive over-spending parents will do. Despite the mass production of chocolate and synthetic grass, Easter must have been feeling a bit left out of the loop. I mean, really: does anyone have fond memories of sitting down with their families and watching an Easter movie?
Hop tries to remedy this situation with a story about ambition, friendship, and cute baby animals dancing around. While it will likely be a big hit with the younger crowd, adults may find the movie severely lacking.
When E.B. (Russell Brand) was a child, he was all set to take over the family business: bringing baskets of sweets around the world as the Easter Bunny. When the time comes to assume the role, however, E.B. realizes that he has other goals in life. He runs off to Hollywood in search of his dreams, where he meets Fred O’Hare (James Marsden), a young man unsure of his path in life. The two must work together to find a balance between responsibility and life fulfillment, and they have to do it in time to save Easter.
You know those Christmas movies about the Kid Who Believes that has to share the magic of Christmas with his or her family and friends? Hop wants to parody this type of movie, but it fails horribly. Easter does not have the same “magical” feeling of Christmas, and trying to give it that just feels forced. Generally in movies like that, the faith of a few must sway the cynicism of the many, but so many of the human characters in Hop are unswayed by the appearance of a talking rabbit that the “special magical reveal” doesn’t seem terribly special at all.
There is clearly supposed to be a focus on the budding friendship between E.B. and Fred, but it’s hard to care about it. They are the same bland, selfish character, and their self-realizations are sudden and predictable. There is no reason they should be friends, and no change in character to inspire said friendship. They seem like two characters thrown awkwardly together because their problems are vaguely similar. The shoddy dialogue doesn’t help with this, and neither does Marsden’s terrible acting. Rather than feeling sympathetic for their plights, I wanted to smack them in their faces and tell them to grow up.
There is a side story about the chicks at the Easter Factory staging a revolt, and the movie could have been a lot more interesting if this were more of a focus. The beginning of the movie implies that the chicks are a class below the bunnies, doing the hard factory work with little recognition while the bunnies are idolized and live a life of luxury. The leader of the chick revolution, Carlos (Hank Azaria), is passed over as the new Easter Bunny despite being the next-in-command for twenty years simply because he’s not a bunny. This may sound silly, but given the events later in the film, it’s doubly insulting. This story seems very promising, but quickly turns from a darker look at class differences and racism to silly chicks dancing.
The animation quality is fairly good. The bunnies and chicks are very cartoonish but blend well with the human actors. Still shots of the animals make them seem a bit creepy, but when in action, they’re really quite cute. The facial expressions are well-done, and there are some genuinely funny slapstick moments with them.
Hop tries to be something special, but overall falls short. It’s not absolutely terrible, however; its worst crime is simply being boring. Kids will love it, but you’ll want to get someone else to bring them if you can.