Our Score: 4 out 5 stars
E.B. (voiced by Brand) is not your average rabbit. Rather than follow in his father’s paw prints, he’d rather jam on his drum kit. But when your pop is the Easter Bunny sometimes your dreams have to wait.
Drenched in color and light, “HOP” is a well designed tale that will captivate kids of all ages. Conceived by the folks at Illumination Entertainment, the film is a strong successor to the companies first feature, the instant classic “Despicable Me.” The story revolves around Fred (Marsden), a 20 something man-child that refuses to grow up. As a child Fred spied E.B.’s dad making his rounds and the memory is something he clings to. When he accidentally injures E.B. with his car, Fred lets him stay at a house he’s house sitting for his sister (Kaley Cuoco). In E.B. Fred finds a kindred spirit…a young man who wants to hold on to his childhood as long as he can.
Meanwhile, on Easter Island (where else?), E.B.’s dad (Hugh Laurie) is preparing for Easter and looking to groom a successor. Anxious for the job is his number one assistant, a chick named Carlos (Hank Azaria). It has long been Carlos’ dream to wield the Egg of Destiny and now, with E.B. gone, he plans to do whatever it takes to be the Big Bunny!
As the search goes on E.B. finds himself a contestant on “Hoff’s Got Talent,” a television show hosted by the Hoff himself, David Hasselhoff. He also gets to jam with the renowned Blind Boys of Alabama. No one ever said being a rabbit was boring.
The film borrows many successful traits from “Despicable Me,” including a workforce of chicks meant to remind moviegoers of that film’s incredible Minions. It also borrows bits of popular culture, including a recurring bit where E.B. and the female rabbits sent to fetch him, known as the Pink Berets, find themselves at the one place you will be sure to find a bunny in Hollywood: the Playboy Mansion, bugging Hef himself on the gate intercom. Both the live action talent and the voice actors give strong performances, especially Brand. Director Hill, who previously combined live action and animation with
the second “Garfield” film as well as “Alvin and the Chipmunks,” has a way of telling a story seamlessly. Speaking of storytellers, Hill’s uncle was the late Oscar winning director George Roy Hill ( “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” “The Sting”). Must be something in the DNA.