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Director:Cory Edwards
Cast:Glenn Close, Anne Hathaway, James Belushi
Release Date:2006

By Violet LeVoit | Posted 1/11/2006

My, what big pop-cultural references you have! All the better to in-joke with, my dear. Arriving on the scene right after the famous tête-à-tête between Red Riding Hood (voiced by Anne Hathaway), Granny (Glenn Close), the Wolf (Patrick Warburton—you know, Elaine’s dumb-as-dirt boyfriend David Puddy on Seinfeld), and the Woodsman (Jim Belushi), elegant drawing-room detective/frog in a suit Nicky Flippers (David Ogden Stiers) wants to put this bedtime story to bed. Interviewing each of the players renders a Little Red Rashomon schematic of four cleverly interlocking alibis—but who’s the real “Goody Bandit” who is pilfering recipes from the bakers of the enchanted forest? Hoodwinked has some serious technical problems—the herky-jerky, sclerotic computer animation is more appropriate for a student film, not a feature. Red, looking like a Bratz doll moonlighting as a Hummel figurine, suffers the most from digital Botox, but characters not required to stay pretty, such as Japeth, the banjo-playing goat, and Twitchy, the hyperkinetic squirrel photojournalist, fare more expressively and entertainingly than they sound on paper. Happily, the technical shortcomings can’t completely blunt the nuance of the vocal performances, or overshadow the clever and irreverent puzzle-box script. Some gags are tired and stolen—“Candygram?” Hello, it’s 2006.—while some earn their guffaws. There’s some original songs (aaaaagh!), but no booger jokes or moral-of-the-story endings. Can we just call it even?

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