Feature

Mr. Peabody & Sherman

A dog and his boy travel through time.

Directed by Rob Minkoff(PG)

**

DreamWorks’ animated features suffer what seems to be a systemic problem, said Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times. The studio’s new comedy-adventure based on two beloved characters from the old Rocky & Bullwinkle isn’t an embarrassment, but it can’t decide whether an all-ages movie should be “riffing on the cultural zeitgeist” or as silly as a 7-year-old. Modern Family’s Ty Burrell voices Mr. Peabody, a brainiac dog who’s invented a time machine. When his adopted human son, Sherman, takes the contraption for a spin with a girl from school, all three characters begin a hopscotching journey through history. The trip engenders “a handful of killer gags,” said Alan Scherstuhl in The Village Voice. But the movie “labors hammily” to get us worried about problems developing in Peabody and Sherman’s relationship, and the earnestness doesn’t fit. Still, “considering the low standard Hollywood sets for kid flicks,” a “passably clever” entertainment will do, said Elizabeth Weitzman in the New York Daily News. This one might even send some families back to the old cartoon shorts that inspired it.

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