Red Riding Hood, the Big Bad Wolf and a manic squirrel are tasked with saving Granny in Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil, an exhausting, unfun riff on assorted fairy tales.
Granny (voice of Glenn Close) is still working for the Happily Ever After agency for Nicky Flippers (David Ogden Stiers) with Big Bad Wolf (Patrick Warburton) and Twitchy (Cory Edwards), solving fairy tale-related troubles. Red (Hayden Panettiere) has taken a leave of absence to train with the Sisters of the Hood in a sanctuary where she appears to be learning kung-fu and baking. When Granny is captured by witch Verushka (Joan Cusack) while trying to save Hansel (Bill Hader) and Gretel (Amy Poehler), Red is called home to team up with Wolf to find Granny and solve a mystery that involves Verushka, a group of assassin pigs, a magical truffle and perhaps Boing the Bunny (Andy Dick), the villain of the first movie.
One rat-a-tat pop culture reference hitting you like a pie to the face after another — that’s the experience of watching Hoodwinked Too!. And even that might be OK if the characters weren’t so, well, horrible. Panettiere’s Red is sanctimonious and — while you hate to say this about a little cartoon girl it seems the most accurate — bitchy. I found myself wanting this central character to just leave the screen, so abrasive and shrill was her presence. Warburton, so excellent as The Tick, is just a machine gun of under-the-breath zaniness here. Cusack and Poehler feel poorly used — made to go big and chew the scenery but then not given the chance to do anything interesting with their characters. I wanted to just turn down the volume on these characters and slow down the crazed pace of so much jokiness.
But will the kids like it? I suppose — I heard laughter in the theater where I saw this movie, and the movie is short enough. But I also see the possibility for all those references to martial arts movies, night clubs, gangster movies and other things not generally seen on Nick Jr. to sail over younger viewers’ heads and leave them bored. In any event, the suffering of the parents might just be too great to justify the mild entertainment of a few kids. D+
Rated PG for some mild rude humor, language and action. Directed by Mike Disa and written by Mike Disa, Cory Edwards, Tony Edwards and Tony Leech, Hoodwinked Too! Hood Vs. Evil is an hour and 34 minutes long and distributed by The Weinstein Company.