Saturday, 19 September 2020
Open Season
Written by Sandra Fitzpatrick   
Wednesday, 04 October 2006 21:28

Why, oh why didn’t I go to see The Guardian? With its promise of cliché ridden, testosterone drama and made-for-TV mediocrity, it probably would have been more interesting than what I did wind up sitting through. Open Season is the latest animated offering from an animation industry that has gone stale.

Animated films usually offer a safe harbor in movie theatres because they involve maximum entertainment with minimal time commitment. Open Season does badly on both counts because it is so mind-numbingly awful as to make an hour-and-a-half feel like an eternity-and-a-half. The category  “animated film” sounds far too grand for this cheapo film. “Cartoon” should suffice. It should have moved immediately into the 99¢ rental section of the video store. Am I getting the point across?

The Solid Waste Program will love Open Season because it demonstrates the “Three R’s”: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. It admirably does all three; “Reducing” brain activity of the audience, “Reusing” stereotyped characters and “Recycling” thin plotlines.

Martin Lawrence provides the voice of Boog, a 900lb grizzly bear who has been raised in captivity. Boog lives a life of luxury in the garage of a wildlife conservationalist (Debra Messing) who babies him like, well, a baby. When one of the local redneck hunters drives into town with a deer strapped to his hood, Boog is surprised to discover that it isn’t dead. So he does what any red-blooded, carnivorous beast would do… he helps it escape.

Elliot (Ashton Kutcher) is so grateful not to be mounted on a wall that he won’t get out of town and leave his new buddy in peace. After a midnight raid of the local convenience store, the two animals find themselves kicked out of town during hunting season, the most dangerous time of the year.

Now, I didn’t use the term “redneck hunters” to make any of you outdoorsmen angry. If you’ve got a problem, take it up with the writers. The hunters in Open Season are terrifying and look like they just stepped out of Deliverance. On that note - I can’t stand it when woodland creatures, presumably all born and raised in the Mid-West, speak in different accents! There are Scottish squirrels, Latino skunks, Beavers from Brooklyn. Talk about stereotyping!

There isn’t much humor, and what little there is relies heavily on gross-out gags. The animals throw up and defecate on camera, playing more on shock than actual comedic laughs. Lawrence and Kutcher do little to improve a lackluster script, and there is very little heart behind this formulaic buddy movie.

The trouble is that there is really nothing to make Open Season stand apart from the slew of other animated animal films that have come out recently. (Except that it is worse.) I love animation, so it is very disappointing to see that the masterpieces of my childhood are being replaced by disposable trash. Once upon a time animation studios were out to make family friendly art. Now, the focus is on how many Happy Meal Toys are sold to accompany these fast-food films.

My advice is, if you have to see it, wait for the DVD. I give Open Season 2 out of 10.