Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil
What It Is
Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil begins without Red Riding Hood (Hayden Panettiere, replacing Anne Hathaway from 2005’s Hoodwinked). She’s away at a secret mountaintop retreat, learning martial arts and baking skills with the Sisters of the Hood. At the same time, her granny (Glenn Close) (a longtime Sister of the Hood) and other agents from Happily Ever After (HEA) are on a mission. They mean to rescue Hansel (Bill Hader) and Gretel (Amy Poehler), who have been kidnapped by an evil, masked witch. The mission goes very wrong: the witch gets away and kidnaps Granny along with the children.
Now HEA head Nicky Flippers (David Ogden Stiers) decides he needs to call back his very best agent, Red. What’s more, he decides to partner her with the Big Bad Wolf (Patrick Warburton, who is delightful). They don’t exactly get along, which means they spend the rest of the movie bickering, like all those mismatched buddies-to-be in recent cop comedies. While they sort out where Granny’s being held — by questioning the Giant (Brad Garrett), formerly of the Beanstalk, now a Vegas club owner, and a singing harp named Jimmy 10-Strings (Wayne Newton) — she discovers the identity of her kidnapper. Also at the same time, a pair of (mildly surprising) villains try to destroy HEA once and for all.
After a series of hectic pursuits and battles — some rather explosive — the several plots converge. Red learns to believe in herself as well as the power of the Sisterhood, Wolf feels appreciated at last, and, perhaps needless to say, everyone finds a happy ending. Except the villains of course. While it revises some fairy tale conventions, Hoodwinked Too adheres to the most predictable: good and evil remain simply opposed.
Why It’s Fun
In a word: Granny. Not only is she an impressively fit and clever woman — outfitted in her warm-up suit and prepared for every emergency — but she’s also inspiring. When too many grandmothers in the movies are crotchety or sadly nostalgic, she’s rambunctious, wise, and charmingly optimistic.
Who’s Going To Love It
Those who liked the first Hoodwinked may find this sequel similar in tone and speed. The plot will also appeal to viewers looking for female heroes who are independent-minded, loyal to their friends, and interested in the notion of a “sisterhood.” We might even make a case for viewers fond of DreamWorks-style animated movies — like Shrek — where many of the gags are visual asides, background details that come and go quickly.
But all of these potential fans may be dissuaded by the poor quality of the animation, which is, alas, as slapdash and unimpressive as in the first film. In addition, in the “3D” print I saw, it appeared that some scenes were in 3D and others were not.
What To Be Aware Of
This last is occasioned by Cheech and Chong as two of the Three Little Pigs. If kids in the audience won’t remember their marijuana-fueled adventures from back in the late 1970s, they may notice their painfully stereotypical “Mexican” accenting.
A brief reappearance by the Woodsman Kirk (Martin Short, replacing Jim Belushi) shows what he’s been up too since 2005, namely, yodelling on stage with a group of similarly big-boned yokels, all happy to jump all over the bad guys — literally. Fat jokes aren’t usually funny. These are tired too.
The first film’s banjo-plucking billy goat (Benjy Gaither) returns, and again he is smashed and flattened by various large objects.
The battles between “good” and “evil” several times devolves into cartoonish and silly violence, with faux martial arts, SWAT team tactics, and weapons.
4 out of 10
Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil
Director: Mike Disa
Cast: Hayden Panettiere, Joan Cusack, Bill Hader, Patrick Warburton, Glenn Close, Amy Poehler, Brad Garrett, Martin Short, Cheech Marin, Tommy Chong
Studio: The Weinstein Company
US Premiere: April 29, 2011