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mr. peabody and sherman
Click for full sized poster

Mr. Peabody and Sherman

Screenplay by Craig Wright, based on the series produced by Jay Ward;
Characters created by Ted Key
Directed by Rob Minkoff

Mr. Peabody is a cartoon dog who appeared in the early 1960s television animated series Rocky and His Friends and its successor, The Bullwinkle Show, produced by Jay Ward. Peabody appeared in the Peabody's Improbable History segments created by Ted Key, and was voiced by Bill Scott, while Sherman was voiced by Walter Tetley. Given that we were five or six at the time, Rocky and Bullwinkle was our favorite cartoon, enhanced by the fact that nearly all the music was composed by Cranky's cousin, Fred Steiner.

As far as we're concerned, that connection makes Mr. Peabody and Sherman cousins of yours Cranky, once removed

And so . . .

IN SHORT: Enough giggles to make the family happy though the overall story is a mess. [Rated PG. 82 minutes]

Remember that a six years old kidlet doesn't have much exposure to much of Life outside of the family, the local kiddie friends and maybe the pre-K or kindergarten classmates. Said kidlet doesn't know much about punning -- which all the adults should know that the Mr. Peabody character as famous for

Unlike the show, Mr. Peabody (voiced by Ty Burrell) treats Sherman (Max Charles) as a beloved son, whom he adopted as an infant rather than a pet and assistant, and the WABAC machine is more futuristic. Also, a third member of the team is introduced, Penny who is Sherman's rival and later, best friend and love interest.

The big danger comes from a social worker, Miss Grunion (Allison Janney), who is probably all fine and dandy with the traditional "boy and his dog" scenario . . . but as to "dog and his boy" not so much. Her threats to take Sherman away, added to the backstory of how the genius pooch came to adopt the orphaned and abandoned boy, comprise most of the First Act of the film. Which brings us to elementary school!

On the first day of school,the pair meet Paul Peterson (Stephen Colbert) and his wife Paula (Leslie Mann). Their daughter Penny (Ariel Winter) will become Sherman's nemesis. She starts as a bully and turns into a love interest. Good enough for any adult but not yicky enough to gross out the single digit boys those parental units will drag to the movies. Penny's bullying, on that first day, culminates in Sherman, uh, behaving like a dog. Attempting to make nice, Mr. Peabody invites the Peterson family to dinner. At dinner, Mr. Peabody shares a bottle of wine with the Peterson parental units and Sherman is left alone with Penny. Mr. Peabody's instructions to his son are specifid: DO NOT show off the WABAC Machine. DO NOT USE the WABAC Machine.

Those of parental age know what happens next, right?

We will say it involves King Tut (Zach Callison) and Leonardo Da Vinci (Stanley Tucci) and a Trojan Horse. And that Miss Grunion disappears almost as quickly as she popped in to the story. What hit with the power of a sucker punch in five minute increments flails about stretched out to a movie length story.The film works fine on the big screen, so bring the kidlets. Those 'toonheads out in our reading audience will probably be disappointed that the screenplay will not hold up for multiple viewings.

We don't put a Dollar Rating on family targeted films, most of which are destined for rental, anyways. Mr. Peabody and Sherman, works well enough for the family unit. There weren't enough kids in our audience for us to get a good idea if the film works for them. For the little kid inside the now grown-up Cranky, Mr. Peabody and Sherman was an entertaining sit. It had enough of Peabody's trademark puns to keep us laughing and was entertaining enough for one sit. Not for multiples, though. The film is entertaining enough, but not nearly as hysterically funny as we were expecting.

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The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.