The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature **
Dir: Cal Brunker. Animation with the voices of: Will Arnett, Maya Rudolph, Jackie Chan, Katherine Heigl. 91 mins. Cert: U
The summer of inessential animation continues with this very middling sequel to 2014’s semi-forgotten squirrel-based timekiller. Displaying admirable chutzpah, replacement director Cal Brunker barrels into the franchise, reintroducing Will Arnett’s smartmouthed Surly as if the first movie had become some billion-dollar landmark in popular culture. Restless, detailed design aids his cause, but there’s only so far anybody can sustain the kind of rote narrative – involving the redevelopment of Surly’s parkland terrain – which needs to be hustled through before accompanying adults investigate the availability of refunds. Their younger charges shouldn’t object, though future generations may look unfavourably upon us for enabling sequels to The Nut Job, and not Ratatouille or Over the Hedge.
The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature opens today in cinemas nationwide.