Random. Childish. Cruel. Adult. Meandering. Boring. Stupid. Disturbing. Bland. (see inside for details)
Apparently, The American Rabbit was a character created for greeting cards. He's far from the only advertising-based character to be turned into animation (see Rainbow Brite
for a successful example), but this particular movie is so godawful it's amazing.
The plot is convoluted, complicated, random, and full of things the presumed kid audience won't be likely to understand or relate to. It involves extortion, mobsters, performing music at a bar, political oppression, hitchhiking, and terrorism. Straight-up adult terminology, such as "protection money", is used throughout the entire story. What kid will have any idea what the hell is going on here?
Some of these adult plot elements are combined with childishly cartoonish aspects, such as a plot to trick the masses into going inside the statue of liberty with the promise of chocolate
, so they can be blown up with bombs. But most of the plot is simply cruel. The jackals drug a gorilla and lock him in a tube filling with water, threatening him with death if he doesn't join them. They burn a building down with everyone locked inside. If these characters were humans, or less cartoonishly drawn, the story would be less disturbing, but in its current form, it's a bizarre mixture of adult cruelty and childish presentation.
The hero himself is very uninspiring. One rabbit a generation is born with superhero abilities, so apparently Rob Rabbit can... run so fast that he sprouts rollerskates and his fur becomes painted like the American flag, and can suddenly fly and be super-strong. He uses these abilities a few times, but just gives up and lets the bad guys win at a point when he could easily have stopped them.
The characters seem as bored by the story as any adult would be. The gorilla is voiced by Lorenzo Music, the voice of Garfield the cat, and appropriately enough he sounds as if he's about to fall asleep in the middle of his lines. The rabbit is voiced by Donatello from the 1987 Ninja Turtles
cartoon, but unlike Donatello, he never emotes.
I also fail to see what is so "American" about the American Rabbit
. He visits a few famous cities, but none of their flavor shows through. There is no patriotism of any kind, whether understated or overt.
In all ways possible, this is a failed production.