Southern Outdoor Cinema's Parent Movie Review of The Nut Job

THE NUT JOB – Parent Movie Review by Southern Outdoor Cinema

GENRE: Animated / Childerns

I had an opportunity to take my 7 and 11 year old daughters to see a VIP pre-screening of the movie “The Nut Job” this past Saturday, but I must say that I have mixed feelings about it. Let me start by saying that I understand completely that this isn’t one of those top animated films created by Pixar or Dreamworks studios. I also realize that this 3D CGI film is a South Korean/Canadian co-production between Toonbox Entertainment, Redrover, Ltd and Gulfstream Pictures. That is why I kept my expectations at a very realistic level. The only problem is that my mixed feelings don’t stem from the quality of the animation, but rather from the fact that the storyline wasn’t as cute and innocent as all of the previews made them out to be.

Well “The Nut Job” is a movie based on the 2005 short animated film “Surly Squirrel” that was written by Lepeniotis, and is now the most expensive animated film co-produced in South Korea. The movie is set for release on January 17 in both Regal and AMC theaters. Now if the success or failure of “The Nut Job” were solely based on my daughters’ opinion, the movie would be a hit and that would be the end of this review, but from a parent’s point of view I might have simply skipped the entire pre-screening had I been given a more honest overview of the movie in the previews.


The Nut Job is set in 1959 Oakton and features a mischievous purple squirrel named Surly and his rat friend Buddy. Surly is a really selfish squirrel who will do almost anything as long as he knows there is something in it for him. His favorite activities are getting his little paws on food no matter what it takes, eating all of the food he can find, and never sharing a crumb of it with anyone. He has even been known to plan a heist or two just to steal as much food as he can. Everything seems to be going great for Surly until something goes terribly wrong during a hot dog stand heist that he planned in the park, and Surly and Buddy find themselves banished from the park forever.

Surly quickly finds out how great he had it in the park as searching the city for food is much more difficult. After searching the streets for what seemed like days, and failing at every attempt, Surly finds what he can only describe as heaven and it is The Nut Store. He decides to do what he does best and with the help of his best friend Buddy begins planning his next heist. There is no question in Surly’s mind when it comes to the location of the next heist because he knows for a fact that the Nut Store is loaded with enough nuts to feed every squirrel in the park for the entire winter.

Surly and Buddy don’t seem to have a problem pulling together a few willing individuals to assist with the heist, and what started out as a problem with a guard dog pug named “Precious” turns out to be no problem at all thanks to a dog whistle Surly happens to find. The only problem with the plans for the Nut Store heist is that they don’t account for the fact that the Nut Store is really just a front for a group of thugs planning on robbing the bank that sits right next door. And to top it all off, they are planning on trading off the bags of nuts in the Nut Store for the bags of money in the bank.

So while the Nut Store thugs are digging a tunnel to the bank next door, surly and his gang are digging a tunnel to the Nut Store. The only question is, “will Surly and his gang get to the bags of nuts in the Nut Store before the gang of thugs uses them for their bank heist?” The only way to find out the answer to that question is going to be to watch “The Nut Job” for yourself.

Positive Elements

There were a number of elements that could have turned out to be very positive but the reasons for doing them or how they were achieved were very negative in nature so the negative canceled out the positive altogether in my opinion.

Negative Elements

There was a lot of time spent condescending each other and name calling was quite popular. “Idiot” and “Moron” seemed to be favorites when it came to name calling.

Spiritual Elements

There were no references that qualified to be called “Spiritual Content” during this film therefore there is none to report.

Sexual Elements

There were no references to anything of a sexual nature during this film therefore there is none to report.

Violent Elements

Numerous characters advocated violence throughout much of the film. Improper expressions of anger led to ill-tempered behavior. There were numerous scenes that involved characters raising their hands to strike another character. Bullying seemed to be quite popular. Surly kicked a pigeon just because it was in his way. There are numerous references to guns, by the gangsters who are planning on robbing the bank.

Crude or Profane Language

There were no references to either crude or profane language during this film therefore there is none to report.

Drug and Alcohol Elements

There were no references to either alcohol or drugs during this film therefore there is none to report.


I had expected a much different film being that this was the first family film of the year, so in that context I must say that I am not very impressed. The animal characters spent way too much time being extremely negative towards one another and this really isn’t something that I want my son to learn from a family movie much less a cartoon. I realize that the majority of the cartoons on the television these day are much worse, but I don’t let my children watch them therefore I wouldn’t have brought them with me to see this movie had I known what to expect.

The story was lacking and in my opinion quite crude. The bullying that we see going on in schools these days is to the point where it can cause teenagers in the prime of their lives to commit suicide. So why would a parent want to take their child to a supposedly family film that is loaded with bullying? I don’t quite understand the thinking behind this storyline.

That being said, the animation was actually pretty good and the characters were cute. My kids enjoyed the film but they enjoys cartoons simply because they are cartoons. As a parent, I feel that these types of films should be made to include the type of content that will teach children to be responsible, thoughtful, and caring individuals. This one definitely fell short however, being that it is the only family film that will be out when it does come out, it will probably attract a lot of families. I just hope that they consider doing what I do with my children and explain that we shouldn’t act in the same ways that the cartoon characters in this movie act.


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Southern Outdoor Cinema

About Paul B. Murray
Paul is founder of Southern Outdoor Cinema, an outdoor cinema event production company and a dad to 2 pre-teen girls. When he is is not traveling to create outdoor movie nights for communities, he is spending time playing board games, reading books and of course watching movies with his girls.



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