Hop fails to aim high

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THERE’S something a bit grotesque about using CGI animals in children’s films when they look like they’ve been plucked from a taxidermy exhibition.

Guilty animated predecessors like Who Framed Roger Rabbit can be forgiven in their 80s context – back then the technological cash cow was fresh, but these days there’s just no excuse for flogging the dead horse of combining live action with cutesy cartoon bunnies.

But, adult cynicism aside, let’s not forget this is one for the children and while parents may leave the cinema feeling as cheated as biting into a donut and finding it’s custard and not jam inside, youngsters will probably enjoy the easy laughs.

Easter Bunny-in-training, E.B. (voiced by Russell Brand), runs away from Easter Island (geddit?) to avoid following in his father’s footsteps.

He goes to LA to pursue his dream of becoming a rock band drummer, auditions for ‘Hoff Knows Talent’ and ends up meeting human man-child, Fred (James Marsden).

But, when his new friend accidentally hits him with his car, E.B is injured and unable to hop, forcing stay-at-home slacker Fred to take over the job of saving Easter.

Hop’s animation isn’t great but the film’s main problem is that it makes no sense. Even the dimmest kid in the world would question why a man who needs money, and a rabbit who wants to be a drummer, don’t just team up and make a fortune by touring as The World’s Only Drumming Rabbit.

But perhaps we’re not giving the scriptwriters credit: after all, Duracell has probably copyrighted that idea already.

To add to the irritation is the lazy similarities to Santa – this Easter Bunny rides through the sky at night delivering chocolatey treats on Easter Eve, posing the question, how long did it take the pencil wielders to come up with such a novel storyline?

There are some funny jokes but director Tim Hill (Alvin and the Chipmunks) never manages to quite make the human and CGI worlds mesh.

As with many a Dreamworks offerings, an over-reliance on celebrity cameos and pop-culture in-jokes will sail over the heads of its young target audience, except perhaps for that one weird ten-year-old who knows who David Hasselhoff is.