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Surf's Up


Stars: Voices: Shia LaBeouf, Jeff Bridges, Zooey Deschanel, Diedrich Bader, Jon Heder, James Woods, Mario Cantone

Director: Ash Brannon, Chris Buck

After marching penguins and dancing penguins, it's surfing penguins. Whatever next? Skating penguins seem too mundane, so we'll have to wait and see.

Compared with the best of recent CGI cartoon features, though, this one's really quite boring, with a story that just doesn't contain enough development to make it interesting.

Done in the style of a surfin' mockumentary, it tells of rockhopper penguin Cody Maverick (LaBeouf), who longs to follow in the clawsteps of his idol, Big Zee, competing against Tank Evans (Bader) in the Pen Gu Island Championships.

The distinguished voice cast does its best to pep up proceedings, with Heder's Chicken Joe - 'I know he's out there, I can feel it in my nuggets' - the pick of the pack. But they can't disguise the limitations of the wispy story, which involves Cody's initial attempts to compete, discovering that Big Zee (Bridges) isn't dead at all, and falling for lady lifeguard Lani (Deschanel).

The animation of waves and water, though, is astounding, and the film's at least short enough to keep the most fidgety kids watching more or less throughout.

David Quinlan

USA 2007. UK Distributor: Sony (Columbia). Technicolor.
85 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 05 Aug 2007