A squirrel has an edge in ‘Hedge’

Times Staff Writer

Steve Carell steals the animated family comedy “Over the Hedge” (DreamWorks, $30), providing the voice of Hammy, the hyper food-obsessed squirrel who doesn’t know if he’s a “crazy rabid squirrel” or a “crazy rabbit-squirrel.” Hammy proved so popular with audiences that he got his own short, “Hammy’s Boomerang Adventure,” on the DVD.

The comedy, based on the popular comic strip, revolves around a con-man raccoon (Bruce Willis) who joins up with a group of forest animals to go “over the hedge” into suburbia to forage for junk food. Garry Shandling, Wanda Sykes and Eugene Levy are among the other voice talents.

Other features include games and activities for kids -- even a lesson on how to draw Hammy -- a solid documentary on the making of the film that explores the difficulties of animating and lighting it, and informative commentary from directors Tim Johnson and Karey Kirkpatrick along with producer Bonnie Arnold, who discuss the permutations of the story and characters over the lengthy production process.

Despite generally pallid reviews, the comedy-drama “The Break-Up” (Universal, $30) scored at the box office. Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston, who have been coy about their own off-screen relationship, star.


Extras are a lot more fun than the movie. There’s a lengthy improv scene between Vaughn and costar Jon Favreau -- the two starred together in “Swingers” and “Made” -- with interesting commentary on their working methods. The original ending offers insight from Vaughn on why it didn’t work; Vaughn and Aniston engage in surprisingly serious commentary, and director Peyton Reed weighs in; and there’s a better-than-average “making of” documentary, plus the usual outtakes, deleted and extended scenes.

The devil must have made 20th Century Fox update its 1976 classic “The Omen” (Fox, $30).

Liev Schreiber, Julia Stiles, Mia Farrow and newcomer Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, as Damien, star. And Harvey Stephens, who played the demonic child in the original, has a cameo as a reporter. Extras are suitably creepy with a spooky look at the devil titled “Revelation 666" and stimulating commentary with director John Moore, producer Glenn Williamson and editor Dan Zimmerman.

Despite an appealing cast including Hugh Grant, Dennis Quaid, Marcia Gay Harden and Mandy Moore, the political satire “American Dreamz” (Universal, $30) barely made a ripple at the box office. Extras include self-analytical commentary by writer-director Paul Weitz.


Also new

“Billy Wilder Speaks” (Kino, $25): In 1988, German director Volker Schlondorff (“The Tin Drum”) conducted a series of filmed interviews, in English and German, with Oscar-winning director-writer-producer Billy Wilder (“The Apartment,” “Sunset Blvd.,” “The Lost Weekend,” “Some Like It Hot,” to name just a few). The witty, acerbic filmmaker discusses his 60-year career with humor and candor. Extras include 70 minutes of extra footage introduced by Schlondorff, a gallery of Wilder trailers and a filmography.

“Big Love -- The Complete First Season” (HBO, $100): Bill Paxton, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloe Sevigny, Ginnifer Goodwin and Harry Dean Stanton star in HBO’s comedy-drama about a polygamist with three families who lives in suburban Salt Lake City. Included are commentary on two episodes, a racy track with Paxton and Tripplehorn on the fifth installment and a look at the making of the innovative credit sequence.


“Feast -- Unrated” (Dimension, $29): The “Project Greenlight” series made for great TV. Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and their Live Planet production company held a competition that gave an aspiring writer and director a chance to make a film for $1 million. The first two “Project Greenlight” films -- both coming-of-age stories -- tanked. But those films’ fate was better than this gruesome horror fiasco, so bad that Dimension gave it only a limited midnight movie release last month. Extras include sluggish commentary with director John Gulager, writers Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton and others.

“Behind Enemy Lines II: Axis of Evil” (Fox, $27): Fair-to-middling made-for-DVD sequel to the 2001 hit. Navy SEALs are sent into North Korea to destroy a nuclear missile site and are trapped when the mission is aborted. Extras include two standard featurettes and commentary with writer-director James Dodson.

“Icons of Horror Collection -- Boris Karloff” (Sony, $25): This four-movie collection features two of Karloff’s taut “Mad Doctor” vehicles: “The Man They Could Not Hang” (1939) and “Before I Hang” (1940). In the former, he plays a scientist working on a reanimation process who is sentenced to death when he is not allowed to revive a medical student. In the latter, he plays an elderly doctor sentenced to death for a mercy killing. Rounding out the collection are 1935’s “The Black Room” and 1942’s “The Boogie Man Will Get You.”