By: Felix Felicis (Five Beers)-
The movie that no one expected, the squeakquel literally NO ONE ASKED FOR, Nut Job 2 isn’t YouPorn’s latest dip into original content like a much, much smuttier Hulu (sadly), it’s the second movie in what I can only hope is NOT a franchise based on a purple fucking squirrel antihero saving a park in New York City. It’s not even a very BIG park. Other parks probably laugh at it on the playground during lunchtime and I don’t blame them. YOU LET A PURPLE SQUIRREL LIVE IN YOU, SMALL NEW YORK CITY PARK, YOU KNEW WHAT WAS UP.
If you’ve never seen The Nut Job I can only gaze at you with a jealousy unmatched by the fires of a thousand burning retinas. That said, the first movie about Sully (Will Arnett) the purple squirrel has almost nothing to do with Nut Job 2 so feel free to skip it if you’re worried about franchise continuity [pause for laughter]. Nut Job 2: The Day My Soul Died follows Sully and the gang (yes Katherine Heigl is back as Andie the normally colored squirrel) as they roll around in a curiously vacant nut shop that went under and yet still has all the nuts in the basement and hasn’t been sold yet even though it’s prime New York City real estate. But wait! Tragedy strikes as the shop gets blown up and the Liberty Park animals scramble to not only save enough food for winter but also stop an evil mayor (who’s a spectacularly amazing Trump parody voiced by SNL’s Bobby Moynihan) from bulldozing the free park and turning it into an *amusement park (*neon lit deathtrap).
There’s just so much spectacularly wrong with Nut Job 2 I don’t even know where to start on what went right. I will say that the animation quality is considerably better in this movie than in the first but that’s not hard considering the first film (circa 2014) was created by what I can only assume were the ghosts of some very sad animators throwing the last of their standards into a radioactive dumpster fire.
I’ll also add that immediately after watching Nut Job 2 I told frequent debate co-writer (and one half of the greatest film critique duo ever formed) Hawk Ripjaw that the freefall of cinematic standards I’d just seen was a bowling ball rolling directly down his sadistic-love-of-awful-films alley because this animated tornado of visual barf (nominally aimed at children) was a hilariously horrifying and politically savage “fuck you” to the current administration and it was BREATHTAKING(ly bad). Like impressively so. It’s worth noting that Nut Job 2 was directed by Escape From Planet Earth‘s Cal Brunker (another movie yours truly could not “escape” watching- also, curiously, a Brendan Fraser vehicle). I also had a fun time live-tweeting this train wreck, which you can check out here.
I’m not drunk enough to do this but here we go, the characters in Nut Job 2 were copy and pasted from just about any and every children’s movie ever made with Buddy the Rat being a Ratatouille ripoff and, most notably, Jackie Chan’s lab rat street gang leader Mr. Feng being a blatant carbon copy (in spirit if not direct characterization) of the Evil Bunny from Zootopia. I mean, even odds the writers of Nut Job 2 got hammered and played chicken with plagiarism vs parody. The spectacular lack of creativity and/or depth used to flesh out the main characters (not to mention the ancillary cast) ripped a hole in the space/time continuum causing Justin Bieber’s fuzzy not-quite-a-mustache to fall out.
Misogyny, environmental patronization, and cultural exploitation, oh my! Imagine you’re at Build-A-Bear but instead of a cute stuffed animal you come out of the store ninety minutes later with a cinematic plot Frankensteined together with every terrible idea ever. Like if the 1950’s, the EPA, and the ACLU fell into a Twilight Zone gangbang with a splash of animation and blatant disregard for subtlety then Nut Job 2 is what comes out nine months and three tequila-soaked sauna sessions later. This movie hammers home the point it’s trying to make with all the finesse of a back-alley hand job advertised under neon lights large enough to be seen from space.
I don’t recall much of the dialogue from Nut Job 2 for several reasons. One being that the rusty spork I jammed in my eye about twenty minutes in to ease my mental anguish was a tad distracting. Another was that it was so generic my health insurance called afterward and told me to buy that script instead of my prescription name-brand dialogue ’cause it was five times cheaper to manufacture. Credit where credit’s due, though, I never thought a team of stoned hedgehogs knew how to READ much less WRITE so props to those little woodland creatures for turning out human words strung together in a somewhat coherent fashion.
Holy fucking shit, y’all, Nut Job 2 was absolutely BRUTAL (and I mean that in the truest sense of the word). The Catch 22 of any animated movie geared toward children is that most kids outside of a Home Alone scenario can’t drive so grownups spoiled by such spectacular offerings like Up, and Ratatouille and Moana, need more than just animation to lure them inside the windowless van of family-friendly cinema these days. What resulted in the weirdly PG (for action and some rude humor) Nut Job 2 was a total tonal misfire for BOTH audiences (too juvenile and contrived for adults and way, way, way, way, way, way, WAYYYYYYYYYY too terrifying for anyone under the age of twelve).
Nut Job 2 was a no man’s land of subject matter from the dark alleyways featuring dolls missing an eye to the PWECIOUS blended power pug pairing #frescious to seriously satanic serial killer-in-training Girl Scouts to A FUCKING PSEUDO-DEATHBED SCENE BETWEEN SULLY THE SQUIRREL AND HIS PRACTICALLY MUTE RAT BFF NAMED BUDDY. I’m not kidding. You could’ve ripped it right out of Game Of Thrones. Whatever the case, this tonal whiplash will leave anyone with a functioning braincell seriously disturbed.
I haven’t seen an animated movie less geared toward children since 2016’s Sausage Party. J/K. I didn’t watch Sausage Party. Enter theaters at your own risk. You’ve been warned.
Last Call: There’s a minor mid-credits scene with Jackie Chan outtakes just past the dancing animals that make your soul die but before the end of the credits and inevitable heavy drinking/emotional shower crying.
The Nut Job 2 (2017) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: anytime Nut Job 2 events/dialogue could double as a horror/thriller.
Do a Shot: any time Andie gets musically cock-blocked.
Take a Drink: whenever the Mayor or Satan’s Spawn pops up to be obnoxiously evil.
Take a Sip: for every pun, joke that doesn’t land, or #frescious pairing.
Take a Drink: whenever Andie the squirrel hammers home her sage life advice.
Shotgun Your Beer: when even animated characters wanna nope out to Canada.