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Norm Of The North Review

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When a greedy developer threatens his arctic home with new construction, Norm (Rob Schneider), a polar bear with the unusual power of human speech, heads to New York intent save the day with his lemming friends.

★★★★

Some animated movies balance silliness with smarts, and subtlety with slapstick. This is not one of them, and we wouldn’t recommend you watch it even after you’ve burned through every other possibility – and that includes a blank screen. It wants to emulate much better examples of knockabout comedies such as the Madagascar and even the Happy Feet franchises, but ends up feeling like a cheap copy. Committed to a single dull, level of “wacky” humour, Norm’s tale of a chatty polar bear out to save his arctic birthplace is charmless and will be a chore for anyone over the age of three.

The latest critters to attempt to replicate the Minions’ success, the lemmings jabber, scamper and fart around the screen.

The animation level would embarrass those working on daytime cartoons and you do have to wonder if someone at Bill Nighy’s thesping level agreed to do this because his loved ones were being held at an undisclosed location. Schneider, meanwhile, brings little life to the main character, coming across as the blandest sort of hero, one whose special ability doesn’t stretch to actually becoming entertaining. And the less said about Ken Jeong’s scheming developer the better, his villain giving Jeong the chance to indulge his OTT side to such a degree that you’ll wish he was gone the minute he appears.

And then there are the tropes, which feel like they were picked out of a hat and used because that’s what family entertainment is apparently supposed to contain. Unoriginal “become the person you were meant to be” themes and the least subtle environmental message imaginable are awkwardly welded to mild gross-out humour (surely a contradiction in terms) and those lemmings, the latest chattering critters to attempt to replicate the Minions’ success, are more annoying than entertaining as they jabber, scamper and fart around the screen.

Cheap and cheerless, Norm’s appeal melts faster than the polar ice. With characters so completely devoid of charm or entertainment value, even David Attenborough would call for a cull of this lot.

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