Mr. Peabody & Sherman (2014)

Rating: **
Review Date: 1/24/15
Cast: Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Ariel Winter, cameos by Stephen Colbert, Dennis Haysbert

World renowned canine super genius Mr. Peabody (Ty Burrell) and his adopted boy Sherman (Max Charles) take to the big screen with uneven results. A bullying incident at school gets Sherman into trouble and a cruel social services worker is determined to prove that Mr. Peabody is an unfit parent. Sherman's nemesis is a rich and snobby girl named Penny (Ariel Winter), and she coerces Sherman into letting her use the WABAC machine. Time traveling hijinks ensue, forcing Mr. Peabody to chase Sherman and Penny through various points in history, and set everything straight before a rip in the space-time continuum swallows the earth.

It's a nicely animated film with some good performances and some clever gags, but it lacks the dry intellectual wit of the original series. A few puns are thrown out here and there, but the film prefers to focus on forced sentimentality, outrageous action pieces, and the villainy of women. Sadly, Penny is presented as a contemptuous object of temptation, desire, and treachery, and her unpleasantness stays with you long after the film has ended. The sappy love story between the three leads is awkward and unnecessary, and the film would have fared much better as a straight forward action adventure. Mostly harmless and mildly enjoyable for undiscriminating viewers, but disappointing for fans of the original.