While his owners are away, Roddy the pet rat (voiced by Hugh Jackman) is planning to slip out of his gilded cage and go play with the action figures, dress-up dolls, plastic cars and theater-sized TV. But his leisurely activities are curtailed by the unexpected arrival of Sid (Shane Richie), a belching sewer rat whose wanderings through a mysterious maze of plumbing pipes just happened to take a fortuitous turn.
Disgusted with the uncouth intruder, the resourceful Roddy schemes to rid himself of the pest by offering his unwelcome guest a tour around the penthouse followed by a dip in the porcelain whirlpool located in the bathroom. Unfortunately, Sid is not quite as ignorant as he appears, so when it comes time to pull the handle, it is the luckless host who ends up being flushed down the loo.
After his water-slide-like plunge comes to an end, a drenched and nearly drowned Roddy finds himself in a booming rodent metropolis deep beneath the streets of London. Determined to make his way back home, the unintentional visitor asks the locals for some help and is directed to the captain of the Jammy Dodger. Yet instead of Rita (voiced by Kate Winslet) getting him out of his rat's nest, Roddy is pulled into the seafarer's sticky situation involving a villainous Toad (Ian McKellen) and his henchmen, Spike (Andy Serkis) and Whitey (Bill Nighy).
Bringing together the creative team at Aardman Studios (who are responsible for the likes of Wallace and Gromitand Chicken Run) and Dreamworks Animation (the masterminds behind the Shrek franchise), Flushed Away marries a clay animation look with hi-tech computer graphics. Although this gives the production exceptional images and the characters unlimited possibilities, that probably won't be what impresses viewers most. Audiences will likely be more excited over the incredibly clever plotline, puns, and parodies. (The silly, singing slugs might just do it too.)
Offering a solid story from beginning to end, this witty film begs for repeated watching in order to catch all the rapid-fire comedy. Parents will be pleased to note that the script doesn't really contain any "potty" jokes, and includes only a few moments of mild sexual innuendo and a murmur of language in a foreign tongue. And while characters are often in peril and threatened with death, all the violence is portrayed in a slapstick style, with little worry real harm will come to anyone. The biggest concern may be the politically incorrect depictions of some French frogs. (Perhaps the British writers are just testing the good humor of their neighbors across the channel.)
Thankfully, for entertainment seekers young and old, Flushed Away is one movie that goes "down the drain" and comes up smelling like a rose.