DVD Review
by Kevin Carr

    MOVIE: *** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: **1/2 (out of 5 stars)

    Joel McHale as ELLIOT
    Mike Epps as BOOG
    Jane Krakowski as GISELLE
    Crispin Glover as FIFI
    Billy Connolly as MCSQUIZZY

    Rated PG
    Studio: Sony Pictures

    Directed by: Matthew O’Callaghan & David I. Stern

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Elliot the Mule Deer and Boog the Grizzly Bear continue their shenanigans in the woods with Elliot preparing to marry the beautiful Giselle. However, right before the wedding, two tragedies occur – 1) Elliot loses the huge, majestic antlers he has grown, and 2) Weenie the Dachshund is lured back to his owners in an RV and taken away. Elliot, Boog and the rest of the gang head into civilization to rescue Weenie. Meanwhile, Fifi the poodle is threatened by the wild animals coming into the camp, and he rallies the domesticated animals against them.

I enjoyed the first “Open Season” quite a bit when it hit the screens several years ago, which was the beginning of the heyday of CGI features. While this is a direct-to-DVD sequel and understandably not as good as the first, it still has a charm to it. The lead voices of Ashton Kutcher and Martin Lawrence are replaced by Joel McHale and Mike Epps. While Epps gives his own spin to Boog, McHale does a reasonable Ashton Kutcher impression which leads me to ask why Sony spent the money for the big name in the first place.

Like the previous film, “Open Season 2” doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s not high art, but it’s fun and silly for kids and families. I’ve seen a lot worse when it comes to direct-to-DVD sequels. In this film, I enjoyed the slapstick and the wacky forest animals, in particular the porcupine and ducks. Oh, and a nice return of McSquizzy (Billy Connolly) from the first film.

Additionally, as someone who has traveled all over this country by car, I’ve been to many of these types of watering holes. There’s a certain degree of nostalgia this brings to me as a traveler.

Like many animated flicks, the running time is pretty short – only 76 minutes, although it doesn’t seem so short while you’re watching it. I’ve never been much of a Martin Lawrence fan, but Mike Epps doesn’t quite have a grasp of the grizzly bear character as Lawrence did in the first film.

Finally, where the first film focused primarily on Boog and Elliot, this one is more Elliot’s movie, if not arguably Weenie’s movie. Boog really takes a back seat, although you see him a lot in the film. Such is the case with a sequel to a one-shot film.

The traditional special features aren’t very strong on this disc, with a spotlight on the voice cast and a tutorial on how to draw the characters being the highlights. There’s also three deleted scenes and a music video.

However, since this DVD is mainly for kids, they can enjoy the five DVD games in the “Wacky Weenie Arcade.” They’re simple enough for kids to figure out and play on their own, so you’ll save yourself some tutorial time.

Kids and families, especially those who liked the first movie.

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