Viau’s View/Scott Viau

The first family – No, I’m not talking about President Obama, I’m talking about the Croods, a group of prehistoric cave dwellers. For them, routine is good and anything out of the ordinary is something to be feared. But when the world they know begins to literally crumble, the Croods must do something they’ve never done before – embrace the new.

I wasn’t looking forward to seeing “The Croods.” If I had my way, I wouldn’t have seen it at all. But while home in Escanaba for the Easter weekend, my sister and brother-in-law decided to see it. Trust me – I’m not against animated films as a great form of entertainment – Pixar has been delivering great films (for the most part) for years. But “The Croods” doesn’t have the same ability to entertain both adults and kids at the same time. Its humor is directed toward kids with an emphasis on slapstick humor. People fall and get hurt (in a cartoon-y sort of way) and that’s about it. Since this is the world’s first family, it’s understandable that because of their ignorance of how the world works they would hurt themselves in the process, but it all just left me shifting in my seat and shuffling my feet. On rare occasions there was something that would induce a smile, but it was fleeting and gone as soon as the next prat fall took its place.

If the humor wasn’t enough to stop you from seeing “The Croods,” the characters will. I have never in my life been more irritated by a paternal figure trying to protect his family. This character, named Grug, is voiced by Nicolas Cage, which may actually be a clue as to why I disliked him so much. He’s a person that means well, but he’s so thick skulled (again, probably appropriate for a caveman) that every thing he said made me want to jump into the screen and punch him in the face. The rest of the family isn’t much better. While the voice talent is decent enough, the characters just aren’t real enough to make me want to care.

The prehistoric world they live in is also mind-boggling. It looks more like something from Pandora in “Avatar” rather than Earth thousands of years ago. Maybe I’m being overly critical of this film, but I think it deserves it.

The one thing that I will say is that the climax of the film was emotional enough to make me choke up a little bit (I did not cry, though. Really. I didn’t.) but what’s the point of sitting through a movie for 90 minutes hating all the characters only to have them do an about face in order to manipulate my emotions. I call foul.

I guess after all is said and done, I’m not really the target audience for this movie, but younger kids are far more sophisticated today than they used to be, so I’m not sure if even they are the target audience. I guess the only recommendation I can give is that if you have a child four years old or younger, he or she MIGHT like this movie. Enter if you dare.