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Review: 'The Croods' no 'Flintstones'

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More than 50 years since Hanna-Barbera provided us with the first of many modern stone-age family adventures with "The Flintstones," along comes another animated prehistoric clan with "The Croods."

But despite their best efforts, don't expect the film to rock your world. While "The Flintstones" yabba-dabba doo, "The Croods" yabba-dabba don't.

"The Croods" follows one of the last surviving cave clans. They're led by Grug (voice of Nicolas Cage), an overprotective family man, who, with his wife (Catherine Keener), try to hold a wild brood together while not succumbing to the elements. Causing the most trouble is their daughter, Eep (Emma Stone), a typical teenage girl who wants to break from the safety net.

Eep gets her chance when meets an intelligent cave teen named Guy (Ryan Reynolds), who is perceived as a threat to Grug because he has an adventurous spirit and is willing to evolve, discovering elements like fire. With his world literally crumbling around him, Grug is either going have to step up to the plate and take risks, or become, well, history.

With its slick, vibrant computer animation, "The Croods" is obviously far more evolved than the crude drawings of "The Flintstones," yet at the same time it never matches the classic cartoon in terms of comedy. That's not to say "The Croods" is a bad movie. While it's never short on action and certainly moves along at a fast pace, it's ultimately repetitive and feels sitcom family familiar.

Thankfully, there are some poignant moments in "The Croods," especially for those dads dealing with their kids growing up. Still, at its emotional peak, these cave people are no match for the heart we got in the first of the prehistoric "Ice Age" animated adventures.

Kids will likely get the most out of "The Croods," as the film's madcap action and adventure is clearly aimed at younger audience. One thing that will work for both kids and grown-ups, though, is Grug's mother-in-law Gran, expertly voiced by Cloris Leachman. She's a real hoot.

"The Croods," rated PG, 2 1/2 stars out of four.

See the trailer for "The Croods" below.

What other local critics are saying …

Chris Hewitt of the Pioneer Press knocks the film for it's originality in his 2 1/2 star review, saying, the characters won't do "anything surprising or tell any jokes you haven't been hearing since the invention of fire or your birth, whichever came first for you."

On the other hand, Colin Covert of the Star Tribune loves "The Croods." In his 3 1/2 star review he calls the film an "evolutionary leap beyond the similarly themed 'Ice Age' series."

Bring Me The News film critic Tim Lammers is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and annually votes on the Critics Choice Movie Awards. Locally, he reviews films on “KARE 11 News at 11” and WCCO Radio. As a feature writer, Tim has interviewed more than 1,000 major actors and filmmakers throughout his career and his work is syndicated nationwide.

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