‘Peter Rabbit’ Review: Grab The Family And Hop To It

It might not be exactly what Beatrix Potter had in mind for a film version of her classic children’s book, but Sony Animation’s frenetic and entertaining new age telling of the tale works well enough to keep the brand hopping into a new generation.
Actually, this is what you call a live action/animation hybrid, with real humans interacting with CGI rabbits and other creatures in the McGregor vegetable garden. Coming right on the heels of another British family tale, Paddin…

It might not be exactly what Beatrix Potter had in mind for a film version of her classic children’s book, but Sony Animation’s frenetic and entertaining new age telling of the tale works well enough to keep the brand hopping into a new generation. Actually, this is what you call a live action/animation hybrid, with real humans interacting with CGI rabbits and other creatures in the McGregor vegetable garden. Coming right on the heels of another British family tale, Paddin…

Chris O’Dowd on the Impact Music Can Have on People’s Lives in ‘Juliet, Naked’ (Video)

Chris O’Dowd discusses the impact music can have on people’s lives, and how the message is channeled through his film “Juliet, Naked.”

“Duncan is the kind of guy who believes that you are what you like, rather than you are how you behave,” Dowd tells TheWrap’s Steve Pond about his character. Watch the interview above.

“Enjoying music or enjoying any type of art is fulfilling and if that’s whats important to you, that’s what’s important to you,” Dowd added.

The film is based off the British novel by Nick Hornby, who also wrote “High Fidelity.”

Also Read: ‘Juliet, Naked’ Review: Nick Hornby Adaptation Is a Rock ‘n’ Roll Charmer

The Nick Hornby novel adaptation, acquired from the Los Angeles Media Fund, stars Rose Byrne and Chris O’Dowd as longtime lovers who get a jolt of excitement after colliding with an obscure rocker (Ethan Hawke) of whom O’Dowd is a devout fan.

“‘Juliet, Naked’ was one of the true buzz titles at Sundance this year, driven by a wonderful, romantic rock and roll sensibility and enormously winning performances,” said Roadside Attractions co-founders Howard Cohen and Eric d’Arbeloff.

The film was produced by Albert Bergera and Ron Yerxa, Barry Mendel, Judd Apatow and Jeffrey Soros and executive produced by Simon Horsman, Nick Hornby, Thorsten Schumacher, and Patrick Murray. Tamara Jenkins, Jim Taylor and Evgenia Peretz are credited as adaptive screenwriters.

Related stories from TheWrap:

The Orchard Grabs Domestic Rights to Sundance Drama ‘We The Animals’

Watch the Terrifying Trailer for Sundance Horror Film ‘Hereditary’ (Video)

Why Amazon, Netflix Ghosted Sundance Sales After Dominating Last Year

Chris O’Dowd discusses the impact music can have on people’s lives, and how the message is channeled through his film “Juliet, Naked.”

“Duncan is the kind of guy who believes that you are what you like, rather than you are how you behave,” Dowd tells TheWrap’s Steve Pond about his character. Watch the interview above.

“Enjoying music or enjoying any type of art is fulfilling and if that’s whats important to you, that’s what’s important to you,” Dowd added.

The film is based off the British novel by Nick Hornby, who also wrote “High Fidelity.”

The Nick Hornby novel adaptation, acquired from the Los Angeles Media Fund, stars Rose Byrne and Chris O’Dowd as longtime lovers who get a jolt of excitement after colliding with an obscure rocker (Ethan Hawke) of whom O’Dowd is a devout fan.

“‘Juliet, Naked’ was one of the true buzz titles at Sundance this year, driven by a wonderful, romantic rock and roll sensibility and enormously winning performances,” said Roadside Attractions co-founders Howard Cohen and Eric d’Arbeloff.

The film was produced by Albert Bergera and Ron Yerxa, Barry Mendel, Judd Apatow and Jeffrey Soros and executive produced by Simon Horsman, Nick Hornby, Thorsten Schumacher, and Patrick Murray. Tamara Jenkins, Jim Taylor and Evgenia Peretz are credited as adaptive screenwriters.

Related stories from TheWrap:

The Orchard Grabs Domestic Rights to Sundance Drama 'We The Animals'

Watch the Terrifying Trailer for Sundance Horror Film 'Hereditary' (Video)

Why Amazon, Netflix Ghosted Sundance Sales After Dominating Last Year

‘Peter Rabbit’ Movie Review: Beatrix Potter’s Bunny Reduced to Flopsy Sweat

Parents crossing their fingers for another sly all-ages delight after “Paddington 2” will likely have their hopes dashed with “Peter Rabbit,” Will Gluck’s noisy, woefully self-aware adaptation of Beatrix Potter’s leporine protagonist.

Suffering under a tirelessly “hip” script by Gluck (2014’s “Annie”) and Rob Lieber, not to mention James Corden’s typical desperation to please in the title role, poor Peter is only slightly less appealing than “The Simpsons”‘ focus-grouped pup Poochie, and destined for an imminent journey back to his home planet while human star Domhnall Gleeson recovers from an exhausting battery of “Itchy & Scratchy”-style abuse.

Narrated by Margot Robbie, who also plays the voice of Flopsy, “Peter Rabbit” follows the misadventures of Peter, his three siblings Flopsy, Mopsy (Elizabeth Debicki) and Cottontail (Daisy Ridley) and their cousin Benjamin (Matt Lucas) as they try to steal vegetables from cranky old Mr. McGregor (Sam Neill) without finding themselves cooked in a pie. After McGregor suffers a heart attack, he bequeaths his farm to his fussy nephew Thomas (Gleeson), who knows little about gardening but harbors aspirations to sell the land in order to raise money for his own toy store.

Watch Video: James Corden’s Parents Did a Better Job Hosting the Grammys Than James Corden

Before Thomas can fully appraise the farm’s value, however, he finds himself waylaid: first by Peter and his animal friends, who feel entitled to share in the spoils of the McGregor garden, and then by Bea (Rose Byrne), a cheerful, slightly daft artist who lives next door, and encourages him to take a more bohemian approach with the local fauna. Soon, Thomas and Peter find themselves in a showdown for both the farm and for Bea — who the rabbit sees as a surrogate mother — turning the bucolic landscape of these two country homes into a battleground where the winner takes all, at all costs.

A big part of the appeal of Potter’s source material was that she anthropomorphized Peter and his kin with clothes and a humanlike home but still made them subject to their animal instincts; drawn from a ground-up perspective, there was an irresistible vulnerability that made them sympathetic even when getting into trouble. Gluck’s film wants to have its (carrot) cake and eat it too, classifying certain behaviors as naively animalistic (such as a rooster whose morning crow is, amusingly, a reflection of marveling at another new day) while transforming Peter and company into a willful, clumsy, obnoxious pack of mischief-makers.

Also Read: ‘The Cat in the Hat’ Animated Movie to Kick Off Dr Seuss Franchise at Warner Bros

Whatever argument the film hopes to make about the coexistence of man and animal feels repeatedly undermined when the bunnies not only pillage McGregor’s land of its vegetables but also make a mess of Thomas’ house and, eventually, attack him in his own bedroom.

Unfortunately, Gluck and Lieber “update” Potter’s timeless, unassuming tale by acknowledging many — too many — of the conventions and storytelling devices they’re otherwise shamelessly exploiting in their adaptation, pausing repeatedly to point out character flaws one by one, or articulating the emotional stakes of a moment in ways that even children will find on the nose.

But in trying to think through, and verbalize, every objection an audience member might have (from not giving Peter pants to making fun of a blackberry allergy), they undercut anything that could actually make the movie interesting, kowtowing to the broadest possible appeal by being conspicuously bland and safe.

Also Read: ‘The Boss Baby’ Gets Oscar Nod, Twitter Shakes Head: ‘What Have You People Done?’

There’s scarcely a moment that passes without the most obvious possible song playing, but Gluck goes the extra step and enlists everyone from Fort Minor to Vampire Weekend to re-record their lyrics to suit the characters, who sometimes sing their own story. The movie’s self-awareness eventually comes destructively full circle when the animals are called upon to actually communicate with the humans, and Gluck is either unsure or refuses to choose whether or not they can actually speak, further confusing the foundations of a story that really did not need to be this complicated.

As an actor, Corden has all of the appeal of late night’s least interesting talk show host — all enthusiasm, no nuance — and he delivers every one of Peter’s lines with the same energy and inflection: “Aren’t I as adorable as I think I am?” (He isn’t.) Much like with his “Carpool Karaoke” segments, where he makes the mistake of thinking he’s as interesting as the person in the passenger seat, he somehow steamrolls through each scene until his co-stars’ performances all run together, wasting the considerable charm and personality of three of Hollywood’s most gifted young actresses.

Only Byrne and (especially) Gleeson emerge with some sense of personality and dignity intact, owning Bea and Thomas’ one-dimensional quirks and turning their fledgling romance into a genuine emotional journey that becomes the film’s brightest spot.

Will Gluck isn’t a bad filmmaker, but by accident or design he seems to have catapulted himself into Hollywood’s family-filmmaker rotation with 2014’s “Annie” and cannot get himself unstuck. (At least he gives Byrne something to do this time, and finds her a co-star with some chemistry.) Beatrix Potter would likely have melted down at a version of her stories (and her hero) this crass and rambunctious, but the problem with Gluck’s adaptation is, ironically, that it’s too safe, splitting the difference between a loving tribute to a classic work of children’s literature and an irreverent piece of family-friendly entertainment.

“Peter Rabbit” feels obligated to point out all of the clichés that it’s rehashing, in the mistaken belief that doing so absolves itself from coming up with anything better to replace them.



Related stories from TheWrap:

Move Over ‘Lady Bird’ – ‘Paddington 2’ Is Now Best-Reviewed Movie on Rotten Tomatoes

‘She-Ra’ Reboot, ‘Boss Baby’ Score Netflix Series Through DreamWorks Animation

Women Animators Pen Open Letter on Sexual Harassment: ‘This Abuse Has Got to Stop’

Disney Cancels ‘Jack in the Beanstalk’ Animated Film ‘Gigantic’

Parents crossing their fingers for another sly all-ages delight after “Paddington 2” will likely have their hopes dashed with “Peter Rabbit,” Will Gluck’s noisy, woefully self-aware adaptation of Beatrix Potter’s leporine protagonist.

Suffering under a tirelessly “hip” script by Gluck (2014’s “Annie”) and Rob Lieber, not to mention James Corden’s typical desperation to please in the title role, poor Peter is only slightly less appealing than “The Simpsons”‘ focus-grouped pup Poochie, and destined for an imminent journey back to his home planet while human star Domhnall Gleeson recovers from an exhausting battery of “Itchy & Scratchy”-style abuse.

Narrated by Margot Robbie, who also plays the voice of Flopsy, “Peter Rabbit” follows the misadventures of Peter, his three siblings Flopsy, Mopsy (Elizabeth Debicki) and Cottontail (Daisy Ridley) and their cousin Benjamin (Matt Lucas) as they try to steal vegetables from cranky old Mr. McGregor (Sam Neill) without finding themselves cooked in a pie. After McGregor suffers a heart attack, he bequeaths his farm to his fussy nephew Thomas (Gleeson), who knows little about gardening but harbors aspirations to sell the land in order to raise money for his own toy store.

Before Thomas can fully appraise the farm’s value, however, he finds himself waylaid: first by Peter and his animal friends, who feel entitled to share in the spoils of the McGregor garden, and then by Bea (Rose Byrne), a cheerful, slightly daft artist who lives next door, and encourages him to take a more bohemian approach with the local fauna. Soon, Thomas and Peter find themselves in a showdown for both the farm and for Bea — who the rabbit sees as a surrogate mother — turning the bucolic landscape of these two country homes into a battleground where the winner takes all, at all costs.

A big part of the appeal of Potter’s source material was that she anthropomorphized Peter and his kin with clothes and a humanlike home but still made them subject to their animal instincts; drawn from a ground-up perspective, there was an irresistible vulnerability that made them sympathetic even when getting into trouble. Gluck’s film wants to have its (carrot) cake and eat it too, classifying certain behaviors as naively animalistic (such as a rooster whose morning crow is, amusingly, a reflection of marveling at another new day) while transforming Peter and company into a willful, clumsy, obnoxious pack of mischief-makers.

Whatever argument the film hopes to make about the coexistence of man and animal feels repeatedly undermined when the bunnies not only pillage McGregor’s land of its vegetables but also make a mess of Thomas’ house and, eventually, attack him in his own bedroom.

Unfortunately, Gluck and Lieber “update” Potter’s timeless, unassuming tale by acknowledging many — too many — of the conventions and storytelling devices they’re otherwise shamelessly exploiting in their adaptation, pausing repeatedly to point out character flaws one by one, or articulating the emotional stakes of a moment in ways that even children will find on the nose.

But in trying to think through, and verbalize, every objection an audience member might have (from not giving Peter pants to making fun of a blackberry allergy), they undercut anything that could actually make the movie interesting, kowtowing to the broadest possible appeal by being conspicuously bland and safe.

There’s scarcely a moment that passes without the most obvious possible song playing, but Gluck goes the extra step and enlists everyone from Fort Minor to Vampire Weekend to re-record their lyrics to suit the characters, who sometimes sing their own story. The movie’s self-awareness eventually comes destructively full circle when the animals are called upon to actually communicate with the humans, and Gluck is either unsure or refuses to choose whether or not they can actually speak, further confusing the foundations of a story that really did not need to be this complicated.

As an actor, Corden has all of the appeal of late night’s least interesting talk show host — all enthusiasm, no nuance — and he delivers every one of Peter’s lines with the same energy and inflection: “Aren’t I as adorable as I think I am?” (He isn’t.) Much like with his “Carpool Karaoke” segments, where he makes the mistake of thinking he’s as interesting as the person in the passenger seat, he somehow steamrolls through each scene until his co-stars’ performances all run together, wasting the considerable charm and personality of three of Hollywood’s most gifted young actresses.

Only Byrne and (especially) Gleeson emerge with some sense of personality and dignity intact, owning Bea and Thomas’ one-dimensional quirks and turning their fledgling romance into a genuine emotional journey that becomes the film’s brightest spot.

Will Gluck isn’t a bad filmmaker, but by accident or design he seems to have catapulted himself into Hollywood’s family-filmmaker rotation with 2014’s “Annie” and cannot get himself unstuck. (At least he gives Byrne something to do this time, and finds her a co-star with some chemistry.) Beatrix Potter would likely have melted down at a version of her stories (and her hero) this crass and rambunctious, but the problem with Gluck’s adaptation is, ironically, that it’s too safe, splitting the difference between a loving tribute to a classic work of children’s literature and an irreverent piece of family-friendly entertainment.

“Peter Rabbit” feels obligated to point out all of the clichés that it’s rehashing, in the mistaken belief that doing so absolves itself from coming up with anything better to replace them.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Move Over 'Lady Bird' – 'Paddington 2' Is Now Best-Reviewed Movie on Rotten Tomatoes

'She-Ra' Reboot, 'Boss Baby' Score Netflix Series Through DreamWorks Animation

Women Animators Pen Open Letter on Sexual Harassment: 'This Abuse Has Got to Stop'

Disney Cancels 'Jack in the Beanstalk' Animated Film 'Gigantic'

James Corden Talks Taking on A Classic With ‘Peter Rabbit’

When James Corden first decided to accept the role of the title character in “Peter Rabbit,” based on Beatrix Potter’s beloved children’s series, he was intimidated by its weight. “Everyone who has grown up in Britain has read these stories or learned to read with these stories and for that reason I felt quite daunted […]

When James Corden first decided to accept the role of the title character in “Peter Rabbit,” based on Beatrix Potter’s beloved children’s series, he was intimidated by its weight. “Everyone who has grown up in Britain has read these stories or learned to read with these stories and for that reason I felt quite daunted […]

Rose Byrne-Ethan Hawke Comedy ‘Juliet, Naked’ Sells to Lionsgate, Roadside

Lionsgate and sister company Roadside Attractions have acquired U.S. rights from Los Angeles Media Fund to Jesse Peretz’s romantic comedy “Juliet, Naked,” starring Rose Byrne, Ethan Hawke, and Chris O’Dowd. A summer release is planned for the film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 19. The film is produced by Albert Berger & […]

Lionsgate and sister company Roadside Attractions have acquired U.S. rights from Los Angeles Media Fund to Jesse Peretz’s romantic comedy “Juliet, Naked,” starring Rose Byrne, Ethan Hawke, and Chris O’Dowd. A summer release is planned for the film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 19. The film is produced by Albert Berger & […]

Lionsgate, Roadside Attractions Acquire U.S. Rights To Sundance Pic ‘Juliet, Naked’

Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions acquired U.S. rights to the Jesse Peretz-directed romantic comedy Juliet, Naked. Rose Byrne, Ethan Hawke, and Chris O’Dowd star.  A summer release is planned. The film is produced by Albert Berger & Ron Yerxa, Barry Mendel, Judd Apatow and Jeffrey Soros.
Juliet, Naked tells the story of Annie (Rose Byrne) who is stuck in a long-term relationship with Duncan (Chris O’Dowd) – a huge fan of obscure rock musician Tucker Crowe (Ethan Hawke)…

Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions acquired U.S. rights to the Jesse Peretz-directed romantic comedy Juliet, Naked. Rose Byrne, Ethan Hawke, and Chris O'Dowd star.  A summer release is planned. The film is produced by Albert Berger & Ron Yerxa, Barry Mendel, Judd Apatow and Jeffrey Soros. Juliet, Naked tells the story of Annie (Rose Byrne) who is stuck in a long-term relationship with Duncan (Chris O'Dowd) – a huge fan of obscure rock musician Tucker Crowe (Ethan Hawke)…

Jesse Peretz Sundance Hit ‘Juliet, Naked’ Goes to Lionsgate, Roadside Attractions

Jesse Peretz’s Sundance Film Festival entry “Juliet, Naked” has sold U.S. distribution rights to Lionsgate and Roadside attractions.

The Nick Hornby novel adaptation stars Rose Byrne and Chris O’Dowd as longtime lovers who get a jolt of excitement after colliding with an obscure rocker (Ethan Hawke) of whom O’Dowd is a devout fan.

“‘Juliet, Naked’ was one of the true buzz titles at Sundance this year, driven by a wonderful, romantic rock and roll sensibility and enormously winning performances,” said Roadside Attractions co-founders Howard Cohen and Eric d’Arbeloff.

Also Read: Claire Danes, Jim Parsons Drama ‘A Kid Like Jake’ Acquired by IFC Films

The pair made the deal with Lionsgate President of Acquisitions and Co-Productions Jason Constantine and EVP of Acquisitions and Co-Productions Eda Kowan.

The film was produced by Albert Bergera and Ron Yerxa, Barry Mendel, Judd Apatow and Jeffrey Soros. and executive produced by Simon Horsman, Nick Hornby, Thorsten Schumacher, and Patrick Murray. Tamara Jenkins, Jim Taylor and Evgenia Peretz are credited as adaptive screenwriters.

Read the logline:

Juliet, Naked tells the story of Annie (Rose Byrne) who is stuck in a long-term relationship with Duncan (Chris O’Dowd) – a huge fan of obscure rock musician Tucker Crowe (Ethan Hawke). When the acoustic demo of Tucker’s hit record from 25 years ago surfaces, its release leads to a life-changing encounter with the elusive rocker himself. Based on Nick Hornby’s best-selling novel, Juliet, Naked is a comic account of life’s second chances.

 

Related stories from TheWrap:

The Orchard Grabs Domestic Rights to Sundance Drama ‘We The Animals’

Watch the Terrifying Trailer for Sundance Horror Film ‘Hereditary’ (Video)

Why Amazon, Netflix Ghosted Sundance Sales After Dominating Last Year

Jesse Peretz’s Sundance Film Festival entry “Juliet, Naked” has sold U.S. distribution rights to Lionsgate and Roadside attractions.

The Nick Hornby novel adaptation stars Rose Byrne and Chris O’Dowd as longtime lovers who get a jolt of excitement after colliding with an obscure rocker (Ethan Hawke) of whom O’Dowd is a devout fan.

“‘Juliet, Naked’ was one of the true buzz titles at Sundance this year, driven by a wonderful, romantic rock and roll sensibility and enormously winning performances,” said Roadside Attractions co-founders Howard Cohen and Eric d’Arbeloff.

The pair made the deal with Lionsgate President of Acquisitions and Co-Productions Jason Constantine and EVP of Acquisitions and Co-Productions Eda Kowan.

The film was produced by Albert Bergera and Ron Yerxa, Barry Mendel, Judd Apatow and Jeffrey Soros. and executive produced by Simon Horsman, Nick Hornby, Thorsten Schumacher, and Patrick Murray. Tamara Jenkins, Jim Taylor and Evgenia Peretz are credited as adaptive screenwriters.

Read the logline:

Juliet, Naked tells the story of Annie (Rose Byrne) who is stuck in a long-term relationship with Duncan (Chris O’Dowd) – a huge fan of obscure rock musician Tucker Crowe (Ethan Hawke). When the acoustic demo of Tucker’s hit record from 25 years ago surfaces, its release leads to a life-changing encounter with the elusive rocker himself. Based on Nick Hornby’s best-selling novel, Juliet, Naked is a comic account of life’s second chances.

 

Related stories from TheWrap:

The Orchard Grabs Domestic Rights to Sundance Drama 'We The Animals'

Watch the Terrifying Trailer for Sundance Horror Film 'Hereditary' (Video)

Why Amazon, Netflix Ghosted Sundance Sales After Dominating Last Year