Warning: this review contains spoilers.
A lot of kids dream of what they want to be when they grow up. Doctor, lawyer, movie star, acrobat, astronaut– but did you ever dream that when you grow up, you could be the Easter Bunny?
On Easter Island, bunnies and chicks work to make the candy for all the children around the world (well, except in China), and the Easter Bunny delivers them on Easter Eve night. But E.B., the son of the retiring Easter Bunny, doesn’t want to be the Easter Bunny. He wants to drum! Frustrated by his dad’s insistence, he runs away to Hollywood to pursue his dream.
On the other side of the world, Fred O’Hare is a failure, in his dad’s eyes. He hasn’t worked in a year, and no job is “quite what he’s looking for.” His sister’s help gets him a job interview and a really cool housesitting job, and things are looking up– until a talking rabbit shows up at his door!
Will Fred find what he’s looking for in life? Will E.B. succeed in his dream of drumming? And will the evil chick Carlos take over the Easter factory?
I was pleasantly surprised at how clean the film was. There was little inappropriate humor, no language, no romance, and no violence. I also loved the relationship between Fred and his sister Sam. Usually Hollywood films represent brother/sister relationships as being fighting and hateful, but these two were affectionate, and Sam repeatedly looked out for Fred.
There were many good mini-themes in the film, though they were not always as strong as they could have been. The importance of loyalty is communicated when E.B. leaves his big drumming opportunity in order to help Fred. Fred himself goes from floating around without any clear idea of what his life should be, to articulating a goal and working hard for it. In the end, E.B. makes the decision to honor his father’s wishes, and become the Easter Bunny.
I said there was little inappropriate humor. One scene establishes that E.B. has the ability to excrete Jelly Beans. While I found this funny, it might be concerning to some. E.B. also makes a couple of references to him and Fred as “seeing” each other that could be taken as distasteful.
In addition, Fred’s family is far from a Biblically modeled one. His sister Sam has a career of her own, and his younger adopted sister Alex badmouths him multiple times. His father voices his disappointment with Fred frequently, but never gives him any direction, never offers to guide him through his confusion. Instead, he kicks him out of the house. While he told a younger Fred he was “destined for greatness,” he now wants him to settle for “any job.” While Fred is reluctant to leave, it appears to be only because he has no vision for his life, rather than because of love for his family.
The Easter Bunny idea itself is problematic, as it takes our minds off the real reason we celebrate Easter–the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Most children, when asked what Easter is all about, would probably answer “the Easter Bunny,” “Easter eggs,” “candy,” etc. Films such as this one reflect that attitude.
I mentioned individual good themes above, but overall theme? As far as I could detect, the film didn’t have one. Is it about following your dreams? No, E.B. gives his up, and Fred wins his more through luck than hard work. Is it about friendship? I don’t think so, at least, the climax of the film had more to do with E.B.’s drumming abilities than his loyalty. How about family? If so, it was a disjointed example– Alex and Fred are never reconciled, E.B.’s relationship with his father is never either great or horrible, and Fred’s dad never comes around until the last couple minutes of the film, when he says he’s proud of Fred. Why? Obviously, because his son is the first human Easter Bunny.
The acting in the film was exceptional. Russell Brand’s portrayal of E.B. was hysterically hilarious, and my entire family found themselves laughing out loud throughout the film. James Marsden and Hank Azaria gave uproarious performances. The characters were quirky, and the two main characters and the antagonist were fairly well-developed, though secondary characters left me wondering what their motivation was.
In the category of story, the film barely squeaked by. Yes, it was well paced and timed, but it was constantly switching what it was about. Who was the protagonist, Fred or E.B.? And what was the film about again? Other story problems included an unconvincing climax, sudden goal shifts with no apparent previous motivation, giving away the twist of the film at the very beginning, setups that didn’t pay off, and a good sprinkling of what Blake Snyder calls Too Much Marzipan a.k.a. Black Vet. Worst of all, I was constantly asking myself, “What is this movie about, anyway?”
The integration of live-action and CGI was so well done it wasn’t noticeable. I never stopped and thought, “That’s an animated rabbit in a human world.” Despite the stylized animation, it blended remarkably well. The clothes and fur of the rabbits, the fluffiness of the chicks, and the stickiness of all the candy was convincing.
And as a lover of irony, I personally got a huge kick of the tough-talking evil Hispanic fluffy yellow chick.
All things considered, I would give this film a three out of ten. Did I enjoy it? For the most part. Would I recommend it? No. It was funny, but pointless. If you are thinking about seeing it, however, I hope this review has been help