From Ice Age: The Meltdown to The Wild to Over the Hedge, no computer-generated cartoon this year has been complete without a hyperactive squirrel. Hoodwinked continues that trend, though the fast-talking Twitchy, voiced by director Cory Edwards, is thankfully only a peripheral figure in this wisecracking deconstruction of the Little Red Riding Hood fairytale. Saddled with cheap-looking animation and a far from stellar cast, this Shrek clone is a diverting but hardly memorable addition to a dangerously overworked genre.
Opening with Red (Anne Hathaway) finding the Wolf (Patrick Warburton) dressed as her Granny (Glenn Close), the playful script promptly backtracks to reveal how these three iconic figures - together with the axe-wielding Woodsman (James Belushi) who crashes through the window - came together at Granny's cottage on that fateful night.
As uncovered by frog detective Nicky Flippers (David Ogden Stiers), their stories are far from straightforward. The Big Bad Wolf, for one, is no man-eating predator but an investigative reporter; Granny, meanwhile, is an extreme sports enthusiast who's been keeping her activities secret from the fiery, karate-kicking Red. But what, if anything, does this Grimm crime scene have to do with the notorious Goody Bandit who's been stealing every cookie recipe in the forest?
"CHEAP ANIMATION AND FAR-FROM STELLAR CAST"
Entertaining enough during the flashbacks, Edwards' film falls apart in the latter stages along with the slim premise holding it together. Still, the banjo-picking goat is good for a few laughs, while the admirably brief running time makes it hard to hold a grudge.