If you are seeking a big honking Easter basket full of useless crap for this glorious spring holiday season — and who isn’t? — have I got a movie for you. There’s a whole mess of goodies (emphasis on the mess) to be found in Hop, a bizarrely strained mishmash of animation and live action covered in a hard candy shell of incoherence and crass, un-magical calculation.
For example, in Hop, Easter Island is the headquarters of the Easter Bunny — which is so very funny, because the island is named Easter and also because the Easter Bunny must have a magic workshop somewhere and the North Pole was already taken. Har-har.
Also: Rocket sleigh pulled by magical ducks (or something). And it’s a rocket. Somehow, wormholes are involved too.
Hop isn’t anything at all like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, but it’s trying to be. Apparently James Marsden, who is at least 15 years too old to be playing this role, is playing a confused slacker whose parents are trying to kick him out of their home. (Marsden is 36. He does not have a baby face that lets him pass for younger.)
But maybe Fred, ahem, O’Hare would like to be the Easter Bunny? Because it’s something that children aspire to, like being an astronaut or a ballerina? It sounds like a pretty awesome job, in fact, because you only work one day a year.
But Hop — from a “master” of melding CGI critters and unfortunate actors, Tim Hill (Alvin and the Chipmunks, Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties) — fails to elucidate why it’s so terrible a job. In fact, the new Easter Bunny, E.B. (the voice of Russell Brand), would rather be a drummer in a rock band than take up the candy-distribution business run by his father (voiced by Hugh Laurie).
I just don’t know where the hell anyone involved was imagining the magic would come from here. It’s like a movie for very, very slow people, or for people who’ve never seen a movie before and so can find magic in the flickering lights and how it moves! It moves! And the rabbit talks! And it poops out jelly beans!
Hop really does stoop that low.