.’Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil’
By Frank Lovece
In a stylistic flashback midway through “Hoodwinked Too!: Hood vs. Evil,” a sequel to the 2006 computer-animated fairy-tale spoof, a series of sepia-toned still images graces us with all the expressive charm and sinister magic of children’s-book illustrations. Would that any of that charm and magic had spread to the rest of this subpar spy tale starring Red Riding Hood (voiced by Hayden Panettiere, succeeding the first film’s Anne Hathaway), Wolf (Patrick Warburton) and Granny (Glenn Close) of the agency H.E.A. (Happily Ever After).
Nothing wrong with the concept – everything from “Rocky and Bullwinkle” cartoons to “Spy Kids” has traded in family-friendly parodies of espionage adventure. But this by-the-numbers checklist of tropes – cloud-covered mountain temple where Red gets her training, mismatched partners learning from each other, the race for a secret weapon of world domination – feels rote and uninspired. And the puffy, Cabbage Patch doll designs look nearly 20 years out of date.
None of this would matter so much had the script been funny or clever, but except for isolated moments, the jokes are as dopey as Disney’s seventh dwarf. Wolf wants to visit the Mother Hubbard Museum, housing “the world’s largest collection of empty cupboards.” During a fight with porcine commandos, someone complains, “Heidi is hogging all the pigs.” Hilarious. And how many more times must we see a spy vaulting acrobatically though crisscrossing laser beams, or lowered into a room spread-eagle on a wire like Tom Cruise in “Mission: Impossible”?
Amy Poehler and Bill Hader are amusing as a Hansel and Gretel who aren’t what they seem, and Joan Cusack poignant as a witch with issues. But no audience will leave here happily ever after.
HOODWINKED TOO! HOOD VS. EVIL
Cast: Voices of Hayden Panettiere, Patrick Warburton, Glenn Close, Joan Cusack, Amy Poehler, Bill Hader
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