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Reviewed by Eric Renderking Fisk Bookmark and Share

There’s a curse upon my house… but since it comes with part of the territory of raising kids, I can’t complain too much. When ever there’s a movie that’s for kids and there’s a rumor that it’s “smart” for adults, my wife and I find ourselves watching it.

There are some truly genuine and entertaining gems – anything by Pixar such as “Finding Nemo” and “The Incredibles,” movies that defy your expectations and turn out to be different then your preconceived notions (I wanted to hate "Madagascar" and "Shrek..." but they accidentally became my favorites) as well as some incredibly bad movies that insult your intelligence while wasting your time and money ("Baby Looney Tunes: Eggs-traordinary Adventure…" sadly comes to mind…) "Hoodwinked" falls somewhere next to "Madagascar" and "Shrek…" but leans dangerously close to "Baby Looney Tunes” territory and could have gone even further towards the infamous “Barney The Purple Dinosaur” danger zone if it became preachy.

"Hoodwinked" is a bit more then the retelling of " Little Red Riding Hood" with a modern twist on all of the characters such as the title character, the wolf, the woodsman and Red Riding Hood’s grandmother. The “McGuffen” (plot device) is Red’s attempt at bringing her grandmother’s book of recipes to her grandmother’s mountain retreat before someone tried to steal it, as there’s been a thief who’s been raiding the enchanted forest to start there own "Enchanted Forest Super Franchise (my paraphrase…)."

Red’s trip to her grandmothers home is full of danger and intrigue, which comes to a climax when she discovers the wolf in the bed disguised as her grandmother, the old woman breaks through the door while still being tied up and the woodsman crashes through the window wielding an ax…

… An instant later the police arrive on the scene and then each character is sat down at the kitchen table and Detective Nicky Flippers (voiced by David Ogden Stiers best known from "M*A*S*H" as Maj. Charles Emerson Winchester III…) has each of the four characters tell their version of the story.

As an aside to The Fedora Chronicles readers: Nicky Flippers is a nod and salute to William Powell’s "Nick Charles" from "The Thin Man" movies… gray fedora and all.

Each version of this story is crazier then the last:

Red Riding Hood as the young girl becoming a woman and trying to expand her horizons and go beyond her expectations…

… The Wolf as a tabloid reporter trying to break the story of a life time.

… The Woodsman as a would-be actor from Austria who sells Schnitzel between auditions.

… Red’s Grandmother as a CEO of her own company that makes baked-goods and spends her time playing extreme sports…

… And as the different versions of the story changes and we get to see the story from the other points of view from the main characters it slowly becomes something else besides “Little Red Riding hood” and transforms into a hybrid of Anne Hathaway’s earlier motion picture “Ella Enchanted” and a really bad knock-off a James Bond movie... (Evil Villain, secret layer, plot to take over the world.)

"Hoodwinked" would have been funnier if there wasn’t already another movie that spoofed fairy tales such as "Shrek…" in fact, if you’ve seen the two Shrek films, then there are going to be aspects of this movie that will already seem tired and already done. The same holds true with The Austin Powers movies, ("International Man Of Mystery," "The Spy Who Shagged Me," "Goldmember…") with a master villain that’s more comedic then threatening. There just doesn’t seem to be anything new or fresh in that direction in this film.

"Hoodwinked" wants so badly to be edgy and hip “to the extreme”. It goes to the edge, but doesn’t commit. It wants to screw around and mess with stereotypes, but then falls back and becomes politically correct again...

Furthermore… there’s really nothing enduring about “Red…” Anne Hathaway is well cast and does a great job providing the voice with the material she’s given, but this isn’t the same Anne Hathaway who became a household word with “The Princess Diaries.” There isn’t the same subtle innocence in her voice anymore, she has a mature young woman who’s outgrown the Wonderful (and sometimes too safe) World Of Disney. To that extent, she just isn’t young enough to play “Little Red Riding Hood” with out the rest of the movie feeling awkward.

The character is rendered with a perpetual pout with these huge doe eyes, often times looking too much like a fragile, expressionless china doll and less like a girl of action. That’s not condemning or condoning the artists, because it seems to an extent that keeping her looking “girlish” was an artistic choice and had little to do with the abilities of the software that’s been available for years.

… And with one of the other minor characters “Twitchy” (spastic squirrel and assistant to The Wolf) who actually had too much expression, you have further proof that making “Red” virtually expressionless was more of an artistic choice.

Hoodwinked isn’t a bad film, nor is it unfunny… there are some great laugh out loud moments at the expense of some of the characters such as the Austrian actor turned woodsman, the diabolical rabbit (a nod to "Monty Python And The Holy Grail?") and many of the blundering animal police men. But just as I’ve said before, "Hoodwinked" feels tired and already played out. There are a few salutes, tributes and just plain satires of classic and vintage movies scattered through out… but when the movie ended and there was a door open for there to be sequels or even a whole "Hoodwinked" franchise… I can’t say that I was excited.

In all, "Hoodwinked" is a good movie to watch and experience just once, but I can’t see how it can become a "franchise" or get people to see it more then once… 

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