Hoodwinked, an underfunded and somewhat undeserving sleeper hit in the winter of 2005, earns a sequel that looks, at least, as if the Weinstein Co. threw a little more money at it. Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil, has prettier colors and a beefed-up voice cast, and if the plot’s no more original than in the first film, at least there are more gags. Sure, it’s still bottom-drawer animation of the Igor, Fly Me to the Moon and Alpha & Omega variety. And yeah, your kids can tell. But at least the fairy-tale riffs are closer to a Shrek sequel in frequency and quality.Hood vs. Evil sees the enchanted forest dwellers of the Happily Ever After Agency muddling along while Red (Hayden Panettiere takes over for Anne Hathaway) is off learning martial arts with the Sisters of the Hood. An evil witch (voiced by Joan Cusack) has kidnapped Hansel and Gretel. Can the Big-but-not-bad Wolf (Patrick Warburton) and his squeaky squirrel pal come to the rescue? Will Granny (Glenn Close) save the day? The script is a mad, muddled blitz of one-liners and movie references. Some of the animation is a hoot, and a few voice actors stand out. Andy Dick does a Hannibal Lecter bit as an evil bunny, and David Alan Grier finds a few laughs as a troll. And casting Bill Hader and Amy Poehler as the Germanic strudel-addicts Hansel & Gretel was inspired. But the facial animation is so cut-rate that the normally funny Warburton and David Ogden Stiers (as Nicky Flippers, the frog in charge of Happily Ever After) are given nothing funny to say, and the story is nothing more than a series of martial arts video game “levels” for small children. Yes, the film is in 3-D and no, it’s not remotely as good as Rio. And if your kids saw the first one in a theater, they’ve certainly outgrown the sequel. But for children still of the “We’ll watch anything so long as it’s animated” age, Hoodwinked Too is at least a passable time-passer.
Movie InfoVoices: Patrick Warburton, Glenn Close, Hayden Panettiere, Amy Poehler, Bill Hader.
Director: Mike Disa.
Screenwriters: Cory Edwards, Todd Edwards, Mike Disa, Tony Leech.
Producers: Joan Collins Carey, Maurice Kanbar.
A Weinstein Co. release. Running time: 85 minutes. Mild rude humor, language, action. Playing at: area theaters.