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Open Season


Stars: Voices: Martin Lawrence, Ashton Kutcher, Debra Messing, Gary Sinise, Jon Favreau, Billy Connolly, Jane Krakowski

Director: Jill Culton, Roger Allers

Once upon a time, cartoon bears all seemed to be voiced by genial Phil Harris. Alas the great Phil died in 1995, and here the mantle of ursine comedy passes to Martin Lawrence. He's Boog, star attraction at the Timberline camp until led astray by mule deer Elliot, a really annoying character (amazingly) played by teen idol Kutcher.

After looting a fast food joint and wrecking a show, Boog (with Elliot in tow) finds himself reluctantly consigned by Ranger Beth (Messing) to the high hills. Trouble is, it's only three days to open season, and one evil hunter (Sinise) in particular is determined to bag him a bear.

This all takes a long while to get going, as the outcasts gradually assemble a gang of foes who become allies when open season is declared. 'Dang,' squawk the ducks, 'we're sitting ducks out here.'

The rather belated highlight is a pitched battle between hunters and the local animal kingdom of deer, skunks, ducks, rabbits and squirrels, led by Boog. The movie uneasily mixes styles between the naturalistic and the Tom and Jerry, but kids will find it OK while adults have the occasional snooze.

David Quinlan

USA 2006. UK Distributor: Sony/Columbia. Colour by De Luxe.
86 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: U.

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

Review date: 09 Oct 2006