by Ryan Hill
In 2006, “Hoodwinked” put a “Rashomon”-style take on Red Riding Hood and it was a surprise hit – produced for a meager $10 million. The movie has now spawned a sequel, “Hoodwinked Too! Hood Vs. Evil.” And, because we live in a post-“Avatar” world, it’s in 3-D.
At the end of “Hoodwinked,” Red Riding Hood, Granny Puckett, The Big Bad Wolf and his ADHD-suffering squirrel friend Twitchy are invited to become a part of the Happily Ever After Agency. Now, their newest assignment is to protect Hansel and Gretel from an evil witch who wants to cook and eat them. The problem is Red is off training to become a part of the Sister Hood, a ninja/granny/cooking operation (and parody of Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill”).
With Red out of the picture, the evil witch manages to not only abscond with Hansel and Gretel, but kidnaps Granny as well. So it’s up to Wolf and Twitchy to rescue their friends, at least until Red leaves training – almost halfway through the film’s less-than-90-minute runtime – to save the day.
The voice cast, which includes Hayden Panettiere (stepping in for Anne Hathaway) as Red, Glenn Close as Granny, Patrick Warburton as Wolf, Joan Cusack as the witch, and Bill Hader and Amy Poehler as Hansel and Gretel, all prove to be more than game for the film, especially Hader and Poehler, who are addictively fun as the kids in peril.
But ultimately, they’re all hampered by a script that must have seemed hilarious to the film’s co-writers as they sat around a table writing the screenplay, inserting referential jokes about Quentin Tarantino and “The Silence of the Lambs,” but in the film’s finished form, the jokes come across as obvious to the point of being lazy. An asylum patient saying “Hello, Clarice,” might have been funny once – in 1995.
“Hoodwinked Too! Hood Vs. Evil” is a young children’s film and nothing else, but that’s not its problem. There are plenty of those out there and they absolutely have their place in the film community. However, the studio has no business condescending to parents by trying to trick them into thinking the film is not only fun for the entire family, but cool and hip to boot. The straight-to-DVD-quality animation alone should let anyone over the age of six know that it’s naptime once the opening credits roll.