Over The Hedge Parent Guide
Parent Movie Review
A lot has happened since the shy turtle Verne (Garry Shandling) and his furry friends settled down in their hollow log for a long winter’s nap. While they were hibernating, suburbia sprung up all around them, replacing their forest with meticulously manicured lawns. Now an imposing hedge corners the critters in the last remaining piece of the wild.
Anxious about the new development, the animals wring their hands with worry until RJ (Bruce Willis) shows up and lets them in on a secret. According to the smooth-talking raccoon, humans have more food than they can possibly eat and that means the varmints’ foraging troubles are over. On the other side of the hedgerow, there’s a glut of nacho chips, soda pop and prepackaged goodies ready for the taking.
After one nibble of the preservative-packed junk food, the pals are hooked on sugar rushes and caffeine jolts. Although Verne grows cautious when his tingling tail warns him everything is not as it seems, he can’t deny it’s easier to raid the garbage cans, steal picnic goodies and commandeer cookies than it is to search the shrinking woods for berries. So despite his uneasy feeling, Verne joins two porcupine parents (Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy), a feisty skunk (Wanda Sykes), a hyperactive squirrel (Steve Carell), and a pair of possums (William Shatner and Avril Lavigne) on their stealthy raids for winter supplies.
Unfortunately the little group of four-footed scavengers doesn’t realize RJ has another motivation for amassing the groceries. Nor do they know about the rancorous homeowners’ association president (Allison Janney) who keeps a domineering eye on the neighborhood. The moment she spots the creatures sneaking into the community, she’s on the phone for an exterminator (Thomas Hayden Church).
Cartoon violence ensues when the critters are attacked by children, whacked by adults, chased by dogs and hit by an SUV. They also have to outmaneuver a minefield of traps set by the unrelenting animal control officer. Moments of rude humor, mild sexually suggestive comments, some name-calling and an embarrassed, naked turtle are portrayed as well.
Based on a comic strip by Michael Fry and T. Lewis, Over the Hedge keenly assesses human excesses and mankind’s general lack of consideration for nature. Yet it manages to do so in an entertaining way that will engage most children. For adult viewers, the script includes references to classic films like Citizen Kane, Star Wars and The Terminator. Even TV guru, Dr. Phil, weighs in with some timely advice.
While venturing through the protective barrier proves to be an eye-opening experience for these little woodland dwellers, Over the Hedge may be an equally enlightening look at our own society’s voracious appetite for snack food and big cars.Theatrical release May 18, 2006. Updated March 18, 2009
Over The Hedge
Rating & Content Info
Why is Over The Hedge rated PG? Over The Hedge is rated PG by the MPAA for some rude humor and mild comic action.
The insatiable habits of human beings are mocked in this animated film about a group of cornered critters that steal food from the neighborhood. The movie relies on repeated scenes of cartoon violence for much of the action. A bear threatens to kill a smaller animal that has stolen his food stores. When the critters venture out into suburbia, they are soaked by sprinklers, have knives thrown at them, are slapped with hockey sticks, chased with a broom, slammed with a book, sprayed with mace and nearly hit by vehicles. An exterminator demonstrates the abilities of traps he has set all over the lawn. After a human is knocked unconscious, the animals have to drive a run-away truck. A large animal is hit with a hammer and impaled by porcupine needles. Humans chase animals with an electric prod and a motorized weed whacker. They also fight among themselves. Several explosions and car accidents take place. To distract the humans, RJ suggests the animals lick their private parts. Mild sexual innuendo is implied when animals comment on nuts, a vibrating butt and a skunk plays up her feminine wiles. Rude antics include a burping rodent, discussion of bathroom needs and the insertion of a cork in a skunk’s behind to stop her smell. The script also contains some name-calling and moments of rude humor.
Page last updated March 18, 2009
Over The Hedge Parents' Guide
How does this film portray society’s consumerism? What effect does the excess of possessions have on wildlife? In what other ways do the human encroach upon the animals?
The little group of animals call themselves a family. What kinds of families are depicted within the larger group? Why do most of the animals so readily accept RJ? What effect does his lack of honesty have on their family unit?
How do the animals respond to the junk food? What concerns does Verne have about the new food source? How does he try to maintain their normal lifestyle? What health problems can arise from an exclusive diet of chips, pop, cookies etc?
The most recent home video release of Over The Hedge movie is October 16, 2006. Here are some details…
DVD Release Dates: 17 October 2006
Take a peek Over the Hedge with this DVD release that provides commentary by directors Tim Johnson and Karey Kirkpatrick and producer Bonnie Arnold, a gallery, a behind the scenes featurette, an opportunity to meet the voice cast, and a look at The Tech of Over The Hedge. The disc also offers an all-new animated short called Hammy’s Boomerang Adventure (with an optional commentary by director Will Finn) and a Verm-Tech Institute Infomercial (with Dwayne LaFontant). If your youngsters are a bit squirrelly, they might want to give DreamWorks Kids (DWK): This Way To Play a spin. This virtual playground of programming includes Animal Fun Facts: Critter 411, Animator 101: Learn To Draw Hammy, Favorite Scenes, Set-Top Games and DVD-ROM activities. Audio tracks are available in English (Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo and DTS 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1) and Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1), with subtitles in English, Spanish and French.
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Caffeine also proves to be too much of a stimulant for an energetic squirrel in the updated fairytale Hoodwinked. Respect between humans and wild animals are a theme in the animated Native American tale of Brother Bear.