Review: Ice Age: Continental Drift


Director:Steve Martino, Mike Thurmeier

Cast:Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Queen Latifah

Running Time:87.00


DreamWorks tends to make movies for kids with jokes for adults. Pixar tends to make movies for adults with jokes for kids. But Blue Sky strictly makes movies for kids with no regard for adults at all.

Unless you under the age of 10, there's very little you'll love in the latest Ice Age film.

That is, except for the delightful interludes featuring Scrat and his quest for an acorn. Those always work and carry the spirit of old Looney Tunes shorts. Everything else recycles old sitcom plots, pirate movies and even other Ice Age stories. Seriously, every movie in this series finds someone getting separated from the group, finding themselves in imminent danger, and waiting on the rest of the group to rescue them.

In this one, the continental drift of the title features Manny the mammoth (Ray Romano), Diego the tiger (Denis Leary) and Sid the sloth (John Leguizamo) floating away on a block of ice, leaving behind their family, who are in danger of the mountain behind them slowly pushing its way toward the sea. (If you know anything about science, please ignore that this process would take hundreds of years.)

The stowaway on the iceberg is Sid's grandma (Wanda Sykes), who got dropped with the group by Sid's deadbeat parents who were tired of taking care of her. There could have been a good point made about how we develop surrogate families when our own families turn out to be duds, but the movie saves this point for another, less enjoyable character. And that's why Blue Sky is no Pixar.

Our foursome eventually runs afoul of a crew of ice pirates, which is not nearly as cool as it sounds. It's a ragtag crew, made up of some sea creatures, a rabbit (Aziz Ansari, not doing anything resembling his best work) and a white tiger (Jennifer Lopez). She's the one who receives the "even though we look different, our family is real" sermon. She gets that thrown at her because even though she's first mate on the ship, the captain (Peter Dinklage, whose accent dips in and out) doesn't appreciate her.

So for a good chunk of the running time, we get an extended riff on Pirates of the Caribbean that's nowhere near as fun as that series. Meanwhile, Manny's wife (Queen Latifah) and daughter (Keke Palmer) try to herd all those left behind to a land bridge, all while the daughter goes through the most banal and recycled story: she likes a "cool" mammoth (Drake), even though her best guy friend Louis the hedgehog (Josh Gad) has a crush on her. At times, I thought someone had found an old Full House script and just read it verbatim.

Drake isn't the only rapper represented. Nicki Minaj also lends her annoying voice as another mammoth. This has to be the least gangsta move any rapper has made since Common became a Gap model, or Ice Cube made a sequel to Are We There Yet?.

All that proves one ultimate point: unless you've got little kids you need to entertain for an hour-and-a-half, don't waste any time on Ice Age.


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.

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