We all remember, with varying degrees of horror, the day we discovered that Santa Claus didn’t exist. Hop may help the Easter Bunny cement its place on that same list of traumatic realizations that come with the end of childhood, but it certainly offers a bit of fun.
In parallel stories, one live-action and one animated, a laid-back bum and a talking rabbit try to find their respective places in the world. Fred (James Marsden), whose last name is “O’Hare” (heh), has lived with his parents since he lost his job. E.B. (voiced by Russell Brand), meanwhile, is the son of the Easter Bunny (voiced by Hugh Laurie), and is being groomed to take over his father’s Santa-esque role as the manager of a candy and chocolate factory on Easter Island staffed by chicks (the yellow, fluffy kind). E.B. doesn’t want the responsibility—he wants to be a drummer—so he runs off to Hollywood where he meets Fred. After getting over the shock caused by this affront to evolution, Fred agrees to help E.B. find fame through a David Hasselhoff-run talent show. As the duo evade the Pink Berets (a team of rabbits tasked with bringing E.B. home using blow-darts and an HTC phone) and face a coup attempt by the chief chick, Carlos (Hank Azaria with a combination of his Simpsons voices), Fred finally hears his calling—he wants to become the Easter Bunny.
No, really.
Every good animated movie has something to offer both kids and adults, and Hop just about makes the grade. It’s whimsical, colorful and generally amusing with a good amount of grown-up humor worked in. Also, E.B. shits jelly beans.
Hop’s voice cast is impeccable and for the large part, the live-action actors do well to realize how ludicrous their scenes are. Marsden overacts a little though; watching him talking to himself without E.B. added in could perhaps be funnier than the final product (see the comic strip Garfield minus Garfield). Hasselhoff’s cameo as a caricature of himself—the talent-finder, not the burger-eating drunk—is hilarious; easily one of the movie’s high points along with a brief appearance by the actual Russell Brand.
Hop is a welcome story about friendship, family and responsibility that should delight children, their parents and anyone who doesn’t mind a bit of confusion over the significance of religious holidays.