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The Independent Critic

James Marsden, Russell Brand, Elizabeth Perkins, Chelsea Handler
Tim Hill
Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio, Brian Lynch
Rated PG
90 Mins.
Universal Pictures

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 "Hop" Review 
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I've always wondered why Easter doesn't get more films.

Hop explains it.

Hop gets an ever so modest recommendation almost solely on the basis of James Marsden's gleefully goofy portrayal of a slacker named Fred who encounters E.B. (THINK!), perfectly voiced by Russell Brand, whose rebellious spirit is calling him towards a music career rather than continuing the family biz of delivering the goods on Easter morning.

Fred is himself a disappointment to his father, an unemployed slacker with a wondrously vibrant spirit that is brought to life in ways that seemingly only Marsden can do on the big screen. While lots of actors can and have performed alongside animated creatures, few have done so with such spirit, energy, zest and conviction. Much as he did with the otherwise disappointing Death at a Funeral, Marsden takes a film and truly rescues it.

Seriously, Hollywood, why isn't Marsden working more?

The story's ever so slight twist is that a resentful baby chick (Hank Azaria) has his own visions of taking over the family business and sets out to hijack E.B.'s birthright.

While it seems odd that director Tim Hill and his trio of writers have chosen rock n' roll over the more obvious hip "hop" as their music of choice, Hop is likely to bring to mind a certain chipmunk trio brought back to life in the past couple years. Hop is just as vibrant, if not moreso, and almost demented enough to wonder if E.B. isn't related to Willy Wonka. Had Hill decided to take the film a more mature route, Hop would have made for one seriously messed up acid trip.

In the week's second seriously messed up use of old school music, Hop gives us a rather psychotic yet joyous take on I Want Candy while the film also finally tells us where those jelly beans come from ... one hint, it's not the "belly."

Were it not for the relentlessly joy-filled and uninhibited performance of James Marsden and the inventive vocal work of Russell Brand, Hop would be a definite disappointment with its sweetness that starts to feel awfully fake and an all too dominating blandness that feels like an even more sterile effort than the disappointing Gnomeo and Juliet.

Once again elevating nearly every production they touch, James Marsden and Russell Brand work together to create Easter (with a little bit of Christmas) magic. While the trailers make it seem like only the smallest of children will appreciate it, Hop may have just enough to be, at the minimum, a pleasant view for the entire family.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic