It's a small world after all in The Ant Bully, though with memories of Antz and A Bug's Life still fresh in our minds the appeal of this entomological animation is no less minuscule. Indeed, only the most undemanding tot will embrace this mundane yarn about a little boy shrunk to insect size - all the better to learn the wholesome lessons about tolerance, friendship and collective responsibility that CG capers like this press home as a matter of course.
Left by his parents in the care of his geriatric granny (Lily Tomlin), bullied ten-year-old Lucas takes out his frustration on the nearest anthill, unaware that it contains a highly sophisticated civilisation with the means to defend itself. It does so by dispatching ant wizard Zoc (Nicolas Cage) to drop some kid-reducing potion down the brat's lughole. But instead of eating him alive or crushing him like, well, an ant, the colony's queen (Meryl Streep) assigns him to kindly nurse Hova (Julia Roberts) for a crash course in human-hymenoptera relations.
"A MUNDANE YARN"
Lucas' miniaturised adventures see him swallowed by a frog, attacked by a wasp, and leading an attack on the far-from-friendly local exterminator (Paul Giamatti). None of this, unfortunately, makes John A Davis' yarn more than just another bug movie, the star wattage of its voice cast doing little to counter the stumbling obviousness of the whole. Nor does it redeem a script that, with its emphasis on action, faeces, and slimy goo, emulates its hexapod heroes by having its heart in its ass.