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The Ant Bully
An army of celebrity voices can’t improve the script's clichéd decisions.
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The Ant Bully
A scene from the animated "Ant Bully".
RATING:
 4/10
OTHER REVIEWS: None
Theatrical Review: The ants bustling through the colony refer to Lucas (Zach Tyler) as "The Destroyer." The nickname is well-deserved. Because he is picked on by the neighborhood bully, the pint-sized Lucas vents his frustrations on someone (or something) quite below his own stature – the insects that crawl beneath his feet.

Well, the ants have had enough of Lucas' sweeping kicks to their hill. They've grown tired of his garden hose flooding every chamber of their elaborate home. And for once, they have a plan. Zoc (Nicolas Cage), the colony's kooky chemist, has perfected a potion that will shrink Lucas down to bug level – teaching him, in the process, why it's best to pick on someone your own size.

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If one were to compile a list of difficult tasks, writing an original screenplay about ants would probably place just ahead of moving a rubber tree plant. Similar feature films – from A Bug's Life to Antz – have used animation to better explore an insect's perspective, so anyone paying to see another pest picture has to have high-apple-pie-in-the-sky hopes that the story stays fresh. With The Ant Bully, it doesn't.

That's not to say director John A. Davis skimps on either production or imagination. This creatively noisy kid flick generates a number of decent visuals pertaining to an ant's view of the larger human world. The details paid to a trip through Lucas' kitchen are amazing. We're given an unprecedented look at the inside of a toad's belly. And Davis honors Hollywood's greatest combat films when he stages a dragonfly assault in the film's first half.

But an army of celebrity voices can’t improve the script's clichéd decisions. Paul Giamatti voices a supremely immature exterminator. (Coincidentally, Giamatti's Sideways co-star Thomas Haden Church voiced an exterminator in this summer's animated Over the Hedge, too. It makes you wonder if that was planned.) Julia Roberts brings maternal warmth to her role of Lucas' ant caregiver, but Cage is creepy, cold, and overly intense as the kid's inevitable role model. Finally, to round out the A-list cast, listen for Meryl Streep, who appears briefly to voice the colony's wise queen.

It's not that Bully bugged me. It just never managed to fly.

RELEASE DATE
July 28th, 2006 (wide)
November 28th, 2006 (DVD)


STUDIO
Warner Bros. Pictures

DIRECTOR
John A. Davis

STARRING
Nicolas Cage, Alan Cumming, Paul Giamatti, Regina King, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, Cheri Oteri, Larry Miller, Ricardo Montalban, Allison Mack, Zach Tyler

USER RATING
  8.5/10
Total: 46 vote(s).


GENRE
Action & Adventure, Animation, Comedy

OFFICIAL SITE
Click here to view site

MPAA RATING
Rated PG for some mild rude humor and action.

RUNTIME
88 min

LANGUAGE
English

BUDGET
Unknown

OPENING WEEKEND
$8,145,000

TOTAL GROSS
Unknown

EXTERNAL








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