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MR PEABODY & SHERMAN

SYNOPSIS:
Mr. Peabody (voice of Ty Burrell) is an all-round genius...and a bow-tie-wearing bespectacled dog. Using his most ingenious invention, the WABAC machine, Mr. Peabody and his adopted son Sherman (Max Charles) hurtle back in time to experience world-changing events first-hand and interact with some of the greatest characters of all time. But when Sherman breaks the rules of time travel, they find themselves in a race to repair history and save the future, while Mr. Peabody may face his biggest challenge yet - being a parent.

Review by Louise Keller:
Father and son relationships, time travel and being a dog have never been so much fun as in this witty, hilarious 3D animation adventure that will have the whole family barking happy. The origins of Mr Peabody, the genius beagle sporting black rimmed glasses and his adopted dorky son Sherman (with matching glasses) come from the TV animated series Rocky and Friends, The Bullwinkle show and Peabody's Improbably History Segments and Rob Minkoff's film brilliantly brings these adorable characters to life in a dexterously scripted story.

There's a clever play on the unique relationship between man and dog as historical facts are integrated into the storyline. Liberally peppered with humour that works on every level for all ages, this colourful jaunt is a tonic, prescribed for mood uplift and a dose of laughter when entertainment is needed.

After establishing the all-round genius and skills of the lovable Mr Peabody (Ty Burrell), we learn the question to ask is 'when' not 'where', for the next time machine destination. A frenetic trip with Sherman (Max Charles) to the 18th century in the midst of the French revolution is the starting point, before Mr Peabody alerts his son of his impending first day at school. By comparison, Marie Antoinette, cake and guillotines seem relatively easy to handle beside the facetiousness of Sherman's classmate Penny (Ariel Winter), whose competitive nature immediately causes friction. Belittling Sherman on the grounds that his father is a dog is the ammunition that Penny uses when Sherman inadvertently spouts knowledge acquired from his time travelling adventures.

Highlights include an action-filled sequence in ancient Egypt involving King Tut, an unscheduled stop in Florence when a distraught Leonardo is trying to make his glum model Mona Lisa smile, plus a misadventure during the Trojan War after the Way Back Time Machine is sucked into a black hole. Also worth mentioning is the delightful sequence set to John Lennon's song 'Beautiful Boy' in which the touching circumstances when Mr Peabody adopts Sherman are shown. 'If a boy can adopt a dog,' says the judge, 'there is no reason why a dog can't adopt a boy.'

The multi-talented Mr Peabody plays every instrument imaginable, cooks up a gourmet storm, shakes cocktails like it's Mardi Gras and doubles as a chiropractor and hypnotist when trying to impress Penny's parents (Steven Colbert, Leslie Mann). The action never stops, nor do the surprises, with umpteen throwaway lines and visual gags that will keep the chuckles coming. Einstein, Mozart, Moses, Pinocchio and George Washington are some of the colourful characters we meet along the way, but it is the devotion between father and son that forms the story's heart and by far overshadows all the spectacles. The bond between dog and boy has never been funnier or sweeter than in this charming animation.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Full of clever, sweet and invention, Mr Peabody & Sherman is proof of the old adage (in reverse) that every dog should have a boy. It's story of fathers and son, but also of loyalty and trust, but none of it seems visible to 8 year olds who will respond to everything that IS visible and tangible, while absorbing some positive ideas about life. And the first of these is never embarrass a girl with your superior knowledge ...

It's an adventure and a flipboard of history, but the film isn't trying to teach: it's hoping to encourage exploration. Such is the bond between Mr Peabody (voice of Ty Burrell) and his adopted son Sherman - aka Shermanus when they arrive in ancient Greece - (Max Charles) that they not only survive the potential catastrophe of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, they resolve the problematic relationship between Sherman and Penny (Ariel Winter) and teach the world about the qualities of being a good dog and father.

A cavalcade of characters from the pages of history add colour and texture to what is already a colourful and textured screenplay - not to mention animated 3D entertainment. The voice cast is excellent, the screenplay encouraging them to poke gentle fun at several characters including the officious childcare bureaucrat Mrs Grunion (Allison Janney), the model for the Mona Lisa (Lake Bell) and her artist Leonardo da Vinci (Stanley Tucci), Albert Einstein (Mel Brooks) and Agamemnon (Patrick Warburton), the hulking Greek soldier with a contempo attitude.

But then with a cast like that, who could resist.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

MR PEABODY & SHERMAN (PG)
(US, 2014)

VOICES: Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Stephen Colbert, Lauri Fraser, Guillaume Aretos, Patrice A. Musick, Ariel Winter, Karan Brar, Stephen Tobolowsky, Allison Janney, Leslie Mann, Dennis Haysbert, Stanley Tucci, Mel Brooks, Lake Bell

PRODUCER: Denise Nolan Cascino, Alex Schwartz

DIRECTOR: Rob Minkoff

SCRIPT: Craig Wright (TV series by Jay Ward)

EDITOR: Tom Finan

MUSIC: Danny Elfman

RUNNING TIME: 92 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 27, 2014







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