Round Up the Unusual Suspects
In Hoodwinked, four versions of a disturbance at the house belonging to Little Red Riding Hood's Granny present quite a challenge, even for a highly trained inspector. Inspector? That’s right. A long-legged frog who looks like a cross between Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot and Claude Rains in Casablanca is on the case. And he listens very carefully as the Wolf, Granny, the Woodsman and Red herself relate their stories. You see, Hoodwinked is no ordinary fairy tale. It’s a clever animated film using this traditional children’s favorite to poke fun at modern police dramas and mysteries.
Everyone wants to find out the identity of the Goody Bandit, an evildoer responsible for closing down the forest establishments that sell cakes, cookies, pies, candy and so forth. Granny (voiced by Glenn Close) just happens to be one of the people in danger because of all the delicious goodies she prepares and sells. One day, as Red (voiced by Anne Hathaway) rides her bicycle through the forest to deliver Granny’s sweets, she meets a Wolf (voiced by Patrick Warburton) who seems all too interested in what she’s doing. When Red arrives at Granny’s, the Wolf pretends he’s Granny -- but Red discovers the old woman tied up in the closet. At that point, a Woodsman (voiced by Jim Belushi) crashes through the window, which brings out the police (played by Three Little Pigs, of course) under Chief Grizzly’s (Xzibit) command. Because all four characters are now under suspicion, they must give statements to the great Nicky Flippers (David Ogden Stiers).
While most of the fun here involves finding out about Granny’s outrageous secret life and the Wolf’s true identity, I absolutely loved some of the other amusing characters. A silly mountain goat (voiced by Benji Gaither) who doesn’t talk -- but sings everything instead is a wonder! I still laugh whenever I think about him. The frog inspector and the cute little bunny also fascinated me. Although the movie’s stop-motion animation may not look as slick as in major studio productions like Shrek, it’s delightful just the same. I especially admired Red’s huge expressive eyes. And, as in most animated movies, Hoodwinked features a few songs that fit nicely into the story.
Witty one-liners abound in this creative movie written and directed by Cory Edwards, Todd Edwards and Tony Leech. I regret missing some of them because they sped by so quickly. But I’m glad I overheard one of Chief Grizzly’s cops whispering to his partner to let the creepy guy they arrested earlier go -- after hearing his boss announce that “being creepy” wasn’t a crime. Great Simpson-like stuff!
Who turns out to be the villainous Goody Bandit? Hey, I'm no snitch, so you won’t get that information out of me. I will divulge, however, that you’re in for a big surprise.
(Released by The Weinstein Company and rated “PG” for mild action and thematic elements.)