Sunday, 11 February 2018

Peter Rabbit (2018)

2018's Peter Rabbit serves more as a sequel to the famous Beatrix Potter books than a traditional adaptation. With a new story, it is a strange hybrid of sentimental updating of a children's classic with a zany, self-aware romantic comedy filled with out of place pop-songs and more physical comedy than you can stuff into a Jim Carrey movie. I'm not sure the whole things works terrifcially but it also ends up being more enjoyable than it should be.

In this film, Peter is his adorably rascally self but old man McGregor has a heart attack so it's his type-A enraged nephew, a young romantic interest for Peter's human friend Bea which creates a weird sort of love triangle that likely it's best to just ignore. The film really is just an opportunity for all sorts of Wile E. Coyote antics between Peter and his new rival and that's where the film is the strongest. Brits do physical comedy the best and Peter Rabbit does a good job with that and is certainly when it's the most entertaning.

The problem is that the film often errs on the side of too silly. There were times when the jokes just went so far over the top they pull you out of the film. They also feel somewhat misplaced. Peter Rabbit as a "property" has a very classic, nostalgic feeling, like Winnie the Pooh. Humour is good but toilet humour and zany Looney Tunes-style jokes seem like they don't quite belong. Peter Rabbit also tries to go all romantic by making this about everyone's feelings. I don't feel that ever works despite how surprisingly sexy uptight Domhnall Geelson is and Rose Byrne is gorgeous in her country blouses.

Perhaps it is the fact that Paddington 2 came out so close in time to this and that film series just nails the exact right combo of everything to be the perfect children's Brit comedy classic and Peter just can't find the right vibe. However, when the hi-jinx are happening, Peter Rabbit is a hoot. When it is trying to advance its story it just looses something.

Peter Rabbit
Starring: Domhnall Geelson, Rose Byrne, James Corden, Daisy Ridley, Sam Neill, Sia, Margot Robbie
Director: Will Gluck
Writers: Rob Lieber, Will Gluck

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