The Nut Job parents guide

The Nut Job Parent Guide

For the eight and older crowd who can keep up with the complexities of the script and the huge cast, "The Nut Job" is a mildly entertaining diversion.

Overall B

When a squirrel lives in an urban environment, he has to learn a different set of survival skills. And Surley (voice of Will Arnett) will have to use all of them - plus the help of his inner-city friends, to pull off the perfect heist at a store specializing in nuts.

Release date January 17, 2014

Violence C+
Sexual Content B+
Profanity B
Substance Use A

Why is The Nut Job rated PG? The MPAA rated The Nut Job PG for mild action and rude humor.

Run Time: 86 minutes

Official Movie Site

Parent Movie Review

You can expect plenty of “nut” jokes in this script. Thankfully most of them don’t refer to male anatomy. There’s also loads of cartoon violence, including explosions, punching, smashing and even guns that are fired at the forest critters. But for the eight and older crowd who can keep up with the complexities of the script and the huge cast, The Nut Job is a mildly entertaining diversion.

At the center of the story is Surly (voice by Will Arnett), a testy tree squirrel who lives up to his moniker. He only thinks about himself—particularly when it comes to food. He even mistreats Buddy (voice by Robert Tinkler), a scrawny rat that is the only animal willing to put up with the cantankerous rodent.

The opening scenes of the story feel like something straight out of A Bug’s Life with the city park animals scrounging for enough nuts and scrapes to get them through the winter. Their leader Raccoon (voice by Liam Neeson) oversees the storage of the nuts inside a huge oak tree. When Surly refuses to help add to the stash and mistakenly sends their storage up in flames, he is banished from the park and forced to live on the mean city streets. There he’s chased by a pack of scummy sewer rats, almost run over in traffic and kicked by a irate pedestrian all within the first few minutes of landing in the city. But just when things start to look really bad, he stumbles upon a gold mine—Maury’s Nut Store. Unfortunately the establishment is owned by a mafia boss using it as a front to rob a bank. However that doesn’t stop Surly from planning his own heist.

Surly’s attempts to redeem himself and earn his way back into the good graces of his friends could have been enough storyline for this animation that is clearly aimed at a young audience. But the scriptwriters choose to add an additional plot line that turns the forest creatures against one another and makes it hard to know who to trust.

All these twists make it difficult for young children to follow, and even a few adults will likely feel like they’re being subjected to a big screen version of the shell game. While the animation and 3D effects will hold your attention, at least for a while, some families may choose to wait until The Nut Job hits home video.

Directed by Peter Lepeniotis. Starring Will Arnett, Katherine Heigl, Brendan Fraser. Running time: 86 minutes. Theatrical release January 17, 2014. Updated

The Nut Job
Rating & Content Info

Why is The Nut Job rated PG? The Nut Job is rated PG by the MPAA for mild action and rude humor.

Violence: A girl punches a man in the stomach and kicks him after yelling at him. Characters are accused of stealing and cheating. An animal is hit and then smashed by a falling brick. A bird is hit by a bus. Characters are frequently smashed, hit, punched, slapped, choked and electrocuted. A character lights a stick of dynamite and an explosion follows causing lots of damage to the animals’ home. A character falls over a waterfall and appears to be dead. Characters are chased and attacked by other animals. A man attempts to shoot animals with his gun. Characters are caught in traps.

Sexual Content: An animal couple kisses and cuddles briefly. Some infrequent references to bodily functions are included. The closing credits include a song that sings about “sexy ladies”.

Language: The script contains some rude humor and brief crude comments, particularly about male anatomy. Brief name-calling is also included.

Alcohol / Drug Use:None noted.

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The Nut Job Parents' Guide

How does Surly treat others? Why is he banished from the park without a trial? Why does Buddy continue to stick around?

What do the animals do to prepare for winter? What things do you do, if any, to prepare for winter?

What characters make changes in this story? Why does Surly choose to not take credit for saving the animals? How does he help them?

Home Video

The most recent home video release of The Nut Job movie is April 15, 2014. Here are some details…

Home Video Notes: The Nut Job

Release Date: 15 April 2014

The Nut job releases to home video (Blu-ray/DVD/Ultraviolet or Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy). Both packages include these bonus extras:

- Deleted Scenes

- Storyboards

- The Great Nut Heist

- Animated Shorts

- End Credits Sequence

Related home video titles:

This movie shares similar characters to other animations: Look for more rats in Ratatouille, as well as pigeons and four-legged sidekicks in Bolt. Another, more sophisticated gang of thieves get involved in The Italian Job.