Western Animation: Over the Hedge
Over the Hedge
is a 2006 film released by DreamWorks Animation
loosely based on the comic of the same name
It follows the adventure of a handful of woodland animals: a turtle named Verne; a raccoon, RJ; and Hammy, a squirrel are a few of them. The animals have to deal with their home being turned into suburbs. The film stars Bruce Willis
as RJ, Steve Carell
as Hammy, and Garry Shandling as Verne. The plot of the movie involves Verne and the others as RJ gives them their first introduction to the neighborhood that has been constructed around their home, accidentally taking over Verne's role as leader. In truth, he's just using them to gather food for a bear whose winter reserves he accidentally destroyed.
It should be noted that this film marks one of the three times that DreamWorks
was able to outscore Pixar
on Rotten Tomatoes
, very narrowly surpassing Cars
with a 75%. It was released during a time when DreamWorks was considered to be in a Dork Age
, but fans and critics alike consider it to be the best thing the company put out during that time due to the toned down pop culture references and Character Development
Like many other movies, it got its own video game adaptation
The Over the Hedge film contains examples of:
- Absurdly Bright Light: The Depelter Turbo's activation causes tans, pops popcorn, and can be seen from space.
- Adaptation Expansion: Several more characters were added beyond the strip's core cast (RJ, Verne, Hammy).
- Lampshaded in one of the comics published shortly after the movie's release that included a reproduced photo of Stella and Ozzie interacting with the normally drawn regular cast.
- Affably Evil: Dwayne, to an extent. While he's an exterminator who uses illegal and extremely painful-looking lethal traps and devices to kill animals, not only is he a very jolly person, but, when he captures the animals alive, he intends to humanely put them to sleep. And although Gladys insists it be done as inhumanely as possible, there's no indication Dwayne intends to go as she says. Of course, he still wants to kill them, humanely or not.
- Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The movie uses "Key of Heart" as its Japanese theme and "People Say" as its Korean theme. Both were sung by BoA, who was the voice of Heather the opossum in both versions, making this a "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Heather is none too fond of how her father plays dead.
- Animal Stereotypes: Squirrel, raccoon, turtles, and others are played straight. Subverted with the playful, (overly) friendly rottweiler.
- Ax-Crazy: Gladys. Is willing to risk arrest to kill a small group of animals, demands that they be killed as inhumanely as possible, and starts resisting arrest when she's arrested for something that the exterminator had warned her was illegal and seems to be extremely surprised that she's being detained at all. Sounds like someone too dumb to think clearly.
- Bears Are Bad News: Vincent.
- Beautiful All Along: Subverted when Stella actually needs a make-over to become very beautiful and seduce a pedigree cat. Becomes a Double Subversion; Tiger doesn't care that she's a skunk or what she really looks like, he loves her anyway.
- Brand X: All the junk foods seen in the film are fictional brands, a surprising aversion of the expected Product Placement.
- Break the Cutie: Hammy. "I'm not stupid."
- Brick Joke: At the start of the film, Hammy says he buried some nuts in the woods and runs off to find them. At the end of the film, he finds them... and there were apparently enough to fill the whole log.
- Also, the cookie that RJ says is junk, but Hammy wants. Hammy is able to pick it up during his FTL jaunt.
- When he pitches the idea of suburbia to the forrest animals, RJ exclaims that humans have "food out the wazoo," to which Vern responds that he "doesn't know what a wazoo is or what kind of food comes out of it." Later, as they're eating out of the garbage cans, Vern very nearly eats a diaper, which RJ warns him "does come out of a wazoo."
- Broken Aesop: Stealing is all right, as long as you don't take more than you need.
- Well, hardly...RJ's stealing got him into trouble in the first place, and ended up nearly taking his new friends down with him. It's more "don't get in over your head", though the 'official' lesson would be "family is the 'Gateway to the Good Life'".
- Buffy Speak: Heather:
"We, like, worked our tails off, y'know? Like a lot! And the food we gathered was totally... you know! And you're, you're all whatever!"
- Dwayne in a fake commercial. He calls one of the traps the "Choppy Knifey Slicy Thing."
- Caffeine Bullet Time: Hammy. He's normally so fast it's almost teleporting, but with one Jolt-style double-caffeinated soda, he can outwalk lasers. That's right, an FTL squirrel.
- Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Averted. Vern first refers to the humans as primates.
- Casting Gag: During the credits, the cast watches TV.
Just like Khan in Star Trek II
! The Genesis project was in the hands of the Enterprise, but Khan had his perfect plan to steal the invention of renewable life!
- Cat Stereotype: Tiger is snooty and standoffish.
- Chekhov's Gun
- A throwaway line from Tiger about his breed having such a flat muzzle that it can lead to trouble breathing. In his case, it's left him without a sense of smell.
- RJ warning Hammy that the last thing he needed was caffeine. Guess what Hammy uses to activate the Depelter Turbo?
- Cloudcuckoolander: Hammy, OF COURSE.
- Companion Cube: Subverted. "Steve" the hedge is really scary to Verne and company. They accidentally mistake it as talking when they overhear a mother scolding her son on the other side of the hedge.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Gladys Sharp is a Corrupt Homeowners' Association President (we never do learn what her day job is). She crosses the line after buying an exterminator system that (according to Dwayne) "is illegal in every state, except Texas." And then when she's arrested, she starts fighting the police officers, getting herself in even more trouble, since now the cops can add resisting arrest to all the criminal charges she'll be facing, which might also include animal cruelty.
- Could Have Avoided This Plot: Verne tells RJ this had the end that all he had to do was ask — that's what families do. Though it's debatable if this really would have worked at any point, since he gained that family through deception in the first place.
- Crossdressing Voices: One of Lou and Penny's three sons Quillo was voiced by Madison Davenport.
- Dance Party Ending: One of the only Dreamworks films from their Dork Age to (mercifully) exclude this (though Vincent does do a little dance at one point during the credits).
- Death from Above: Inverted. After the De-Pelter Turbo was activated with Gladys, Dwane, and Vincent the Bear inside it, its activation results in a large light beam that shoots out of the atmosphere (taking out a passing satellite) and is actually visible from outside the Milky Way Galaxy, and the heat being hot enough to instantly create popcorn as well as burn the fur off Vincent.
- Played Straight with the fake commercial narrated by Dwayne. He calls the flamingo trap "Pink Death From Above".
- Death Glare: "You are the devil."
- Diabolus Ex Machina: Hilariously done. At one point, RJ, Verne and the snack wagon are sent high in the air (It Makes Sense in Context) because they are rocketed up a slide by a propane tank - high enough to be seen by a passenger jet flying by at cruising altitude - and falling. Fortunately, there was an umbrella on the top, so they rode it down. While they do so, some chips fly out of their can. However, the snack wagon crashes onto Gladys's car so hard (coupled with the fact that the wagon has a propane tank) that it causes a fireball to erupt, which launches the chips back in the air. Not only do the chips impale the umbrella, the fire they picked up from the explosion burns the umbrella all together, leaving them no choice but to fall all the way back to earth.
- Dinky Drivers: The critters have to drive Dwayne's van after he gets knocked unconscious; the porcupine kids steer using skills acquired from playing Auto Homicide 3.
- Dirty Coward: Gladys, at the end.
- Distant Reaction Shot: To the point of Running Gag. Several of them involving space.
- Establishing Character Moment: Gladys's introduction.
(Driving down the street in an SUV, coffee in one hand, her shoulder pressing her phone to her ear)
Gladys: No I can talk. I'm just driving.
- Everything's Nuttier With Squirrels: Hammy.
- Everything Makes a Mushroom: Even opening a bag of the Doritos Brand X equivalent produces a mushroom cloud visible from space that blankets the entire East Coast.
- Fake Rabies: R.J. used whipped cream on Hammy to scare off some Girl Scouts and get their cookies. It is very effective as a scare strategy.
- Fake Nationality: Subverted with Tiger, the Persian cat, played by the British-Iranian Omid Djalili.
- GASP!: The gang, a few times, during Stella's encounter with Tiger.
- Genki Boy: HAMMY. So much that he runs faster than time itself after he drinks a caffeine drink.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
- RJ telling the other animals to "Roll over and give your privates a good licking" if they get caught.
- To say nothing of when they actually do it!
- In one quick shot during the major heist, from outside (where she's distracting the house owner's cat) Stella stands up from off-camera when she's startled by a crash, with some of her 'make-up' messed up while Tiger sits up after her with a dazed, goofy expression.
- The cork. Dear God, the cork.
- "You wanna help me find my nuts?"
- Which, incredibly, is tamer than what they were originally going to go with:
Hammy: You wanna see what I do with my nuts?
- Glove Snap: Done by Dwayne when examining the "dead" Ozzie.
- Hand or Object Underwear: Verne with a Cookie.
- Heel Realization: RJ when he realizes he not only came very close to crossing the Moral Event Horizon but took a transcontinental flight past it. He redeems himself.
- Hoist By Their Own Petard: Gladys Sharp and Dwayne LaFontant set up an illegal trap in her house to get rid of unwanted animals. Hammy later activates the trap and trapping Gladys, Dwayne, and Vincent the Black Bear in the trap.
- Hope Spot: A particularly funny one, when the Spuddies survive a tremendous fall (even landing in a perfect column with an Audible Gleam), causing RJ to gasp in joy. It's short lived when the decimated shopping cart and umbrella fall and crush it.
- Humans Are Bastards: The only two major human characters in the movie are really nasty.
- Hyperventilation Bag: RJ does this once.
- I'll Kill You!:
Vincent: Full moon. ALL my stuff. And don't even think about running away because if you do I will hunt you down and kill you!
- Insistent Terminology: Verne is a reptile. Not an amphibian. He'll be quick to tell you that.
- Gets a Call Back when Dwayne sniffs, initially saying, "Amphibian" - Verne mutters, "Reptile", but to his surprise, Dwayne says, "No... reptile!" It's an Establishing Character Moment for Dwayne, indicating he knows his stuff when it comes to extermination.
- Interspecies Romance: Stella and Tiger, who conveniently has no sense of smell.
- Jerkass: RJ again. The filmmakers actually had a difficult time making RJ deserving of sympathy, even revising or adding scenes just to make him less of a jerk. Even Vincent called RJ's major jerk move "the most vicious, deceitful, self-serving thing [he'd] ever seen". However, at the end of the movie, he turns out to be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
- Verne, for that matter. Half of the problems experienced after RJ joins the group of animals are caused by Verne's condescending sense of knowing better than anyone else around him, and his refusal to listen to anyone because his "tail is tingling". If he'd ignored his tail and stopped being such a raging asshat, the film would have been a lot less dramatic (and a lot shorter).
- According to the DVD Commentary, the filmmakers specifically added in a brief stomach growl before RJ decided to loot Vincent's cave to remind both himself and the audience that yes, he's going something bad, but he does need to survive as well.
- Jumping Out of a Cake: Stella does it one step better: she literally explodes out of a birthday cake.
- Karma Houdini: Subverted with Dwayne LaFontant: While Gladys Sharp and Dwayne LaFontant are being arrested by the police for their illegal trap that they got themselves caught inside with some help from Hammy, and in the case of Vincent, sent to a wildlife shelter, Dwayne LaFontant tried to escape while exploiting Glady's attempt at fighting a Police Officer, and succeeded in going over the fence... only for him to step on a squeaker and presumably end up tackled by Nugant the Playful Rottweiler. Word of God says that he could also got 'eaten' to death offscreen. Urgh.
- Large Ham: Ozzie, played by William Shatner. His character is a possum. They play dead. Think about that.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When Hammy, pretending to have rabies, is squashed with a book, some of the whipped cream on his face sticks to the "camera."
- The last shot of the movie is him running into the camera!
- Lolcats: Notice that RJ breathes into a bag of OH-NO's when hyperventilating.
- Manipulative Bastard: RJ has most of the characteristics of one.
- Minnesota Nice: Lou and Penny are just super duper, ya'know!
- Missing Mom: Not only is Ozzie a single father, but his wife is never mentioned in the film. She is briefly mentioned by Heather in the video game, but the continuity of that is debatable.
- Monster Clown: "Scary clown!" Or, rather, a monstrous bear descending on top of a clown balloon.
- Mood-Swinger: RJ. In one scene he goes from relaxed, to panic, to shame then to extremely panicked in the span of ten seconds.
- Motor Mouth: Hammy, combined with being a Cloud Cuckoo Lander.
- Mundane Made Awesome: The very universe of the movie. RJ doesn't even have to eat a bag of potato chips for it to be epic. He only needs to open it, causing a mushroom cloud of nacho cheese dust the size of a continent.
- My God, What Have I Done?: RJ, after he sees the traps Gladys and Dwayne have set for the gang.
- My Significance Sense Is Tingling: Verne's tail.
- Never Say "Die": Averted several times—Vincent outright says he's going to kill RJ, or RJ and his friends, or that he was on his way to kill RJ. Gladys insists that the animals get "disposed of as inhumanely as possible", and Heather says, "I don't wanna die, Dad, not for real."
- Non-Fatal Explosions: The De-Pelter Turbo produces quite the fireball for a machine that just leaves its victims hairless. There's even a beam of light from the device that takes out a passing satellite, and is visible on the galactic level! Yet it's still non-lethal somehow.
- Well, you do have to prepare for a lot of stinging.
- Noodle Incident: The Weedhacker Incident. RJ made it up, but still.
- When Dwayne accidentally shoots the head off a plastic flamingo, he curses "Not again! Those things are so lifelike! Curse you, plastic moldsmen."
- Not So Different: Vincent tells this to RJ (see Jerkass) which completes his Heel-Face Turn.
- Oh, Crap:
- "What is this place?!"
- Don't forget Dwayne's reaction when he realizes that the 'Depelter Turbo' is about to go off with him, Gladys and Vincent all on the receiving end.
- Overly Long Gag: "Now, the traps are set here...here...here...here...here....here...here...here...here...here...and here...here...here...here...here...big one here...here...and maybe a few over here."
According to the director commentary, they just decided to "keep going until it's funny, and then keep going some more."
- Pass the Popcorn: RJ and Verne share some popcorn watching the Depelter Turbo, which they popped ''using the heat coming off it''.
- Pokémon Speak: Nugent.
- Pop-Star Composer: Ben Folds wrote three songs ("Family Of Me," "Heist," and "Still"), re-wrote one ("Rockin' The Suburbs") and covered another (The Clash's "Lost In The Supermarket") for the soundtrack. It's considered one of the film's biggest highlights.
- Product Placement: Averted with the Pringles but played DEADLY STRAIGHT with the THX. And they're not even trying to be subtle.
- Subverted with the fact that the producers wanted them to be Pringles, but the Pringles company declined to allow their snack to be in the film. Hence, "Spuddies" were born.
- In fact, a trailer shows they were at one point going to be called "Jingles" (with the red can of Pringles Original, along with the Pringles face with a jester's hat).
- The chip that RJ shows to the group is unmistakably Dorito-shaped.
- Played straight with the inclusion of a HP printer and HP camera. Hewlett Packard is DreamWorks Animation's preferred technology provider, and partner in the creation of their CG films.
- Reality Subtext: Dwayne mentions that the Depelter Turbo is banned in every country except Texas. So is the death penalty.
- Sassy Black Woman: Stella the skunk has a lot of sass and also her voice actor Wanda Sykes who often plays this role help her sound more like a sassy black women.
- Scavenged Punk: RJ uses all materials taken from humans for surprising uses (special mention to his pocket fisherman grappling hook).
- Screams Like a Little Girl: Anyone ever noticed how girly RJ's screams can be? For instance, the scene where Verne and RJ plummet to the ground after their umbrella was burned up.
- Whatever you do, don't make a drinking game out of RJ's girly screams. Taking a shot for every one of them during the van chase scene alone may leave you hospitalized. There's also a scream like a little girl when RJ and Verne notice Gladys woke up. No points for guessing who that scream came from.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: Stella, who's amazement is a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming, since she spends all of the film up til then resigned to her unattractiveness.
- When Stella runs away from her new cat friend, Tiger, he shouts 'Stella!' in a reference to A Streetcar Named Desire.
- Is it possible that the makeover scene got Stella her groove back?
- Ozzie whispering "Rosebud," right before playing dead.
- Dwayne LaFontaine indentifies himself with The Terminator. Too bad he's fat, middle-aged and balding.
- Dwayne LaFontaine's name could count as a shout out to the late Don "Movie Trailer Voice" Lafontaine.
- Auto Homicide III!
- You know the column of light at the end which appears when the exterminator's machine backfires on its creator? Looks like The Fifth Element, another movie including Bruce Willis .
- That mask◊ they put on Vincent before they cart him off looks extremely familiar...
- Show Some Leg: Stella is given a make-over by RJ so that they can implement her "feminine charms" (cue makeover montage) to distract Tiger the Persian cat by passing her off as a beautiful stray cat.
- So Proud of You: Ozzie to his daughter when she fools even him into thinking she's dead.
Ozzie: (warmly) That's my girl.
- Spit Take: Gladys when she steps out of her house to see the whole neighborhood littered with overturned trash cans.
- Stellar Name: Stella, of course.
- The Stinger: The Hedgies go back to the vending machine RJ was raiding at the start of the film to get more food for the log. They actually get all the snacks this time...but there are so many the vending machine slot can't be budged. "Kinda anti-climactic, huh?" "Shoot!"
- This Is Gonna Suck:
- Dwayne faced with the Depelter Turbo. "Prepare for a lot of stinging!"
- Also, when RJ and Verne's patio umbrella parachute is burned to a crisp. Verne gives RJ a withering look and simply says "You're the devil." RJ prefers to scream as they plummet to earth.
- Take That: After viewing a talk-show featuring a Dr. Phil analogue, who tells his subject to admit to being a "dirtbag," Lou the Porcupine remarks, "You know, I don't think that guy is a real doctor."
- Toilet Humor: Stella when letting out a stink bomb in the house.
- True Companions: The animals. There are two friends-as-family groups involved: a father and daughter (Ozzie and Heather) and a nuclear family (the porcupines).
- Ultra Super Death Gore Fest Chainsawer 3000: The porcupine kids have been playing a stolen Game Boy knock-off, and when they later get behind the wheel of a real auto, one of them figures out the controls and remarks to the others, "It works just like Auto Homicide III!"
- Vengeful Vending Machine: The film features RJ struggling with the chip machine at the beginning of the movie.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Verne has one of these moments later into the movie, calling his friends "too stupid and naive", and while floundering around for a more tactful way of calling them too innocent to know better than to listen to RJ, "ignorant".
- Wham Line: RJ angrily and absent-mindedly outing his entire motive to Vern as all of the animals are about to get caught looting Gladys's house. Verne looks understandably dumbfounded.
- A subtle one right after Verne's What the Hell, Hero? moment when Hammy repeats his pervious line "I'm not stupid" with a angry, disappointed tone in his voice, which more or less says everything he thinks about Vern right now.
- Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Where is El Rancho Camelot? It has just generic shots from space that its somewhere near the Great Lakes, in Indiana, right around Terre Haute, but aside from that there's no defining traits anywhere.
- Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises: RJ has a tendency to do this when he realizes he's screwed.
- Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Vincent congratulates RJ on his treachery, invoking a Not So Different with him, prompting RJ to go back to save his friends.
Vincent: So I was just on my way down here to kill you, but I stopped to watch the show, and I gotta say...that right there...is a thing of beauty. That is the most vicious, deceitful, self-serving thing I've ever seen. (chuckles maliciously) Classic RJ. You take the food, and they take the fall.