"Hoodwinked" is the sort of all-too-knowing animated spoof that wink-winks itself into a cold, uninteresting corner. Picking through the strip-mined aftermath of "Shrek" and "Chicken Little," sibling filmmakers Cory and Todd Edwards find only secondhand jokes and low-stakes shenanigans.
As the TV ads are bound to trumpet, it’s "Little Red Riding Hood" like you’ve never seen it . . . or have you?
Between delivering goodies for her Granny, Red (Anne Hathaway from "Brokeback Mountain") practices "Matrix"-style slowmotion kung fu, which would be funny if we hadn’t seen the same gag done, oh, 56,231 times over the last six years. Per tradition, Red is hounded by the big, bad Wolf ("Seinfeld" meathead Patrick Warburton), reconceived as an undercover newspaper reporter guilelessly copied from "Fletch" (down to the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar jersey). Granny (Glenn Close) is a closet extreme-sports enthusiast, while the heroic Woodsman (James Belushi) is an out-ofwork actor who wouldn’t know an axe from a schnitzel-stick.
"Hoodwinked" lacks studiocaliber polish. Most children have played video games with better animation, and the pace is slack. The jokes, while plentiful, lack originality and punch. It’s a lot like sitting through a performance by a mediocre stand-up comic. Sober.
Belushi’s Woodsman is the one character that shows flashes of big-league potential. Prancing through the woods with a gaggle of schnitzel-crazed German schoolchildren, the big oaf briefly, hilariously captures the nutso abandon of the "Ren & Stimpy" cartoons. Contrast that with Close’s snowboarding, cage-fighting Granny, a bad Internet download waiting to happen.
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Glenn Close, Patrick Warburton, James Belushi
Rating: PG (some mild action and thematic situations)
Running time: 80 minutes
Playing: Opens today in Valley theaters