Every dad likely feels like a troglodyte in the eyes of his children at one point or another, but Grug (voice by Nicholas Cage) really is a cave man. And as the father of the sole surviving family in their community he’s determined to protect his wife (voice by Catherine Keener) and offspring, even if it means spending most of their time in a dark, cold cave.
His daughter Eep (voice by Emma Stone), however, yearns for sunshine and adventure. In the eyes of her parent, her curiosity is her biggest weakness in their hostile environment. But while Grug is prepared to protect his daughter from wild beasts and falling rocks, he hasn’t made provisions for Guy (voice by Ryan Reynolds). The handsome young Neanderthal (aptly named to represent every boy who steals a daughter’s heart from her father) shows up with a new invention called fire and a warning that the world is about to end.
True to Guy’s prediction, the family’s world, at least as they know it, ends when their cave is destroyed and they are forced to set out on a family road trip to find a new dwelling.
Like the redheaded heroine in Brave, Eep strains against parent-imposed limits and rules. But she never puts her family at risk in quite the same way. The journey to find a new way of life becomes a family adventure for the Croods with each individual growing and contributing. Even Eep’s little brother Thunk (voice by Clark Duke), her baby sister Sandy (voice by Randy Thom) and her grandmother (voice by Cloris Leachman) evolve by the end of this story.
Their adventures, replete with great humor for both children and adults, give viewers plenty to laugh about. However the youngest of audience members may be frightened by the occasional peril from lightening, flesh-eating flowers and hungry animals that these cave dwellers are exposed to. Rocks, sticks and fists also become weapons in the hands of the Croods and although most attacks are aimed at beasts, the occasional punch is thrown between family members.
The script also promotes a few ideas that parents may take exception to, such as the closer you are to the edge the more you can see, hear and feel. The truth is you’re also more likely to fall over the cliff. But although the struggle for typical teen independence fuels much of this storyline, no bridges are irreparably burned in this prehistoric tale.
Despite the limited thoughts the characters supposedly have, they are never short on heart. And while the Croods may be simple in terms of modern lifestyles, they are a pretty sophisticated group when it comes to appreciating the value of family.