The characters in the hand-drawn animated film “The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales” are even more simply designed than the bear and mouse in co-director Benjamin Renner’s Oscar-nominated “Ernest and Célestine,” but they provoke more laughs than their elaborately rendered counterparts in many big studio features.
Based on Renner’s graphic novel, the three tales that make up the film are presented by a company of animal actors who boast more enthusiasm than skill. At the center of the stories is Pig (Justin Edwards), a hard-working farmer who must endure the “help” provided by his well-meaning but terminally dim buddies, Rabbit (Adrian Edmonson) and Duck (Bill Bailey).
In the title story, the inept Fox (Giles New) steals three eggs from one of Pig’s hens, hoping they’ll provide a much-needed meal.
The other two tales, “A Baby to Deliver” and “The Perfect Christmas,” were directed with equal aplomb by Patrick Imbert. In the former, a lazy stork cons Pig, Rabbit and Duck into delivering an adorable infant to her parents in a distant city. In the latter, Rabbit and Duck believe they’ve killed Santa Claus.
Although they lack some of the casual charm of the original French cast, the British voice actors in the English dub wisely underplay, allowing the visual humor to win the laughs. In divisive times, Pig and his friends, who consist of maybe a dozen drawn lines apiece, provide much-needed laughter in the tradition of the great Warner Bros. cartoons.
‘The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales’
Running time: 1 hour, 22 minutes
Playing: Starts Oct. 19, Ahrya Fine Arts, Beverly Hills