By Nicky VanValkenburgh (Greenville SC)

 

Prehistoric Family Sticks Together, Despite Life’s Challenges

The Croods: A New Age is a computer-animated comedy about a prehistoric family of cave dwellers. Their teenage daughter falls in love with a boy, and they want to get married. But Daddy “Grug” Crood isn’t sure if these kids are right for each other. This is a funny, heartwarming and entertaining movie for families, especially now that movie theaters are opening up again for Christmas.

The Story

The Crood family consists of Daddy Grug (voiced by Nicolas Cage,) Momma Ugga (Catherine Keener,) teenage girl Eep (Emma Stone,) brother Thunk (Clark Duke,) baby sister Sandy (Kailey Crawford,) and Grandma (Cloris Leachman.)

On a road trip, the Croods meets a teenage boy named Guy (voiced by Ryan Reynolds.) Evidently, Guy’s family died in the tarpits, and he has been living alone in the wild. The last thing Guy remembers is his parents telling him to “follow the light, and you’ll find tomorrow.” Ever since, Guy has been wandering the land, in search of something, but he’s not quite sure what that is.

When Guy meets the Croods, he is enamored by their teenage daughter, Eep. They are instantly attracted to each other, and spend every waking moment getting to know each other. One evening, Guy asks Eep to marry him. Daddy Grug overhears the conversation and is not happy. He wants to get rid of Guy. It’s not because Guy is a bad person. Daddy Crood just doesn’t want to lose his beloved daughter.

The next day, the Croods discover a field of luscious vegetables and fruit. There is cactus fruit, berries, pumpkins, watermelon, corn and a babbling brook with clean water. As the Crood family feasts on the delicious food, Daddy Grug is caught in a banana trap. It turns out that the Croods are trespassing on land owned by Phil and Hope Betterman (Peter Dinklage and Leslie Mann.) Another surprise is the landowners recognize Guy. Years ago, the Bettermans were best friends with Guy’s parents, so it a sweet reunion. They have been looking for Guy for years, and Guy has been looking for them.

The Bettermans invite the Croods into their house, which is like an oasis. For the longest time, the Croods have been struggling to find adequate food to eat. They have been sleeping on the floor, in a huddle, in order to stay warm. Now they have plenty of food, clean running water, and beds to sleep in. However, comic complications abound when Guy reunites with the Bettermans’ teenage daughter, Dawn (Kelly Marie Tran.) She is beautiful and Guy suddenly is conflicted about his feelings for Eep. Meanwhile, Daddy Grug and Daddy Betterman scheme for Guy and Dawn to get together. If Eep breaks up with Guy, then the Croods can get back to the way things used to be.

What Parents Should Know

“The Croods: A New Age” is amusing story with witty characters that will make you laugh. It’s funny watching this Stone Age family huddle together in their “sleep pile.” Teenage girls Eep and Dawn end up bonding during a joy ride on the family’s sabertooth tiger. Towards the end of the movie, the eccentric Grandma lets her “wig-a-soarus” hair down and unleashes her inner “Thunder Sister.” The plot is silly but it holds your interest. The animation well-crafted, colorful and eye catching.

You may be wondering if there is anything in this movie that might frighten young children. There are life-or-death situations where the humans fight wolf spiders, giant baboons, land sharks, and punch monkeys who communicate by slapping each other. It’s mostly slapstick, but the story culminates in a showdown of good versus evil, with the humans battling the out-of-control animals. Sensitive children may be scared watching the fighting and confrontations. There are monkeys with glowing eyes and a giant ape monster who tries to eat people. One character gets a bee sting and acts like she is drunk. Some characters deal with deception and betrayal. It is implied that Guy’s family died in a tar pit, leaving him homeless and forced to fend for himself. There isn’t any cursing or foul language in this movie, but there is some potty humor and mild insults.

Final Take

Towards the end of the movie, the climatic showdown drags a little, but for the most part, this is a fun family film that’s worth seeing while it’s playing in theaters. The Croods: A New Age upholds family and friendship, and how it’s important to stick together, no matter what comes your way.

Rating: 4/5

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