The Croods


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

The Croods
"One for keeping the little ones happy on a damp afternoon."

A stone age family, living in a cave, reflecting present day American family values - haven't we seen this before? Well, not quite, because the quirky satire of The Flintstones is entirely absent here; instead we're very much in the moment, living in the dark, pre-fire, with the kids not allowed to stray more than a few feet from their parents in case giant sabre-toothed cats devour them.

Naturally this doesn't go down too well with the youngsters, especially Eep (Emma Stone), who is convinced there must be a better way to live. When she meets comparatively sophisticated stranger Guy (Ryan Reynolds), her loyalty to rigidly conservative dad Grug (Nicolas Cage) begins to waver, and it just so happens that this coincides with Apocalyptic events which force the Croods from their home and out into the unknown.

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From a good start, the film declines badly. The energetic, entertaining Eep is quickly sidelined as we concentrate on Grug, his feelings of inadequacy and the supposedly inherent agonies of fatherhood. The trouble is, this is not one of Cage's better days, and Grug just isn't very interesting. It's not clear why the kids this is ostensibly aimed at are supposed to care about his martyr act. In addition to this, the plot is so formulaic that it could be mistaken for an Ice Age sequel and tension is almost entirely absent even in the action scenes.

On the plus side, there's some witty visual work here and the realisation of the different environments through which the Croods travel is well handled.

It's a film full of ten second good ideas that may provoke genuine laughter even when mired in such an insipid story. It's also bright and colourful in a way that will appeal to kids, and despite the disaster-based theme, most of the peril is distinctly mild. One for keeping the little ones happy on a damp afternoon.

Reviewed on: 16 Jan 2014
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The Croods packshot
A prehistoric family leaves the comfort of the cave.
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Director: Kirk De Micco, Chris Sanders

Writer: Chris Sanders, Kirk De Micco

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone, Catherine Keener

Year: 2013

Runtime: 90 minutes

BBFC: U - Universal

Country: US


BIFF 2013

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If you like this, try:

Ice Age