Matthew Lickona noon, July 29
Mr. Peabody & Sherman
Dreamworks Animation, an oxymoron if ever there was one, gives Mr. Peabody parvo in this hideously fashioned stab at turning Jay Ward’s series of witty, five-minute children’s cartoons geared for adults into a CG babysitting franchise. The comic possibilities of a highly-evolved talking cur playing adoptive father to a human boy are brushed aside almost as quickly as they’re hinted at. Instead, the urbane, Nobel-winning stray is reduced to sticking his head out the back window while hydrocephalic ward, Sherman (Max Charles), and a running time-padding love interest, Penny (Ariel Winter), hijack the vehicle. Much of the film’s humor hinges on screenwriter Craig Wright’s ability to follow contemporary animation’s rule of 3 Bs: Boobies, Bodily functions, and B.O. Peabody’s puns are carried over from the original, but Bill Scott’s dry, crisp voicework is not to be duplicated. You sound more like the beagle than Ty Burrell. Rob Minkoff (The Haunted Mansion) directs. 2014.