It's "Ice Age" with humans and less ice.
Years later, here we are: Another DreamWorks movie perpetually on the run, desperately full of action because slapstick violence translates more easily to a global marketplace than the artifact known to the old folks as "a joke" or, rarer, "wit."
Cleese retains a story credit, but "The Croods" is strictly in the manic vein of the "Ice Age" movies, box-office forces of nature and exercises in perpetual bickering and wall-to-wall, cliff-to-cliff cliffhangers. The modest satisfaction provided by "The Croods" comes from listening to
Co-director and co-writer
Earthquaked out of their cave dwelling, the Crood brood embarks on a search for a new home. There's an interloper: Eep encounters an advanced caveboy with impressive low body fat (
Grug and Guy and Eep and Ugga and Thunk and Sandy and Ugga's flinty mother (
To justify the 3-D, directors Sanders and Kirk DeMicco shape "The Croods" as an extended peril seminar. As usual with this photo-realistic animation style, the digital crispness comes at a cost: Each smack in the head or fall from a great height, landing in a "OOOOmmmmmkkph," doesn't really play like a sight gag. It's closer to action-movie violence, slightly toned down. The landscapes, desert to tropical, certainly are varied, which is more than you can say about the characters. At least there's Cage, who has become an astute voice actor, finding some odd, clever, energetic line readings consistently fresher than "The Croods" itself.