Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil Mike Disa

Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil Mike Disa
Having been delayed a year due to unspecified marketing, animation and financial woes on the part of the distributing Weinstein Company, Hoodwinked Too hits theatres with a load of baggage that's only exacerbated by the six-year gap between this and the original surprise hit film. Now, it's possible that superior quality could supplant these issues, creating a generalized positive buzz and word-of-mouth stream of awareness that would rejuvenate the franchise, but that's not the case here – at all.

Replacing Anne Hathaway with Hayden Panettiere (as the sassy, industrious Red), this exceedingly fast-paced sequel drops the musical numbers and handheld police drama aesthetic of the original while following Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf (Patrick Warburton) on a case involving kidnapped German siblings Hansel (Bill Hader) and Gretel (Amy Poehler).

This strangely convoluted investigation involves a secret recipe for super-powered Norwegian chocolate truffles and a lifelong struggle between sister Hoods Granny (Glenn Close) and Verushka the Witch (Joan Cusack). Although, this almost seems incidental in the face of the non-stop chase sequences, explosions, maiming of a singing goat and abundance of gags about poop, farts and the heterography of "two" and "too."

Part of what worked about the original, despite its crappy animation, was the off-the-wall freshness of fairy tale deconstruction and mockery. Entirely random subplots surrounded and supported the base story of Red Riding Hood, running off tangentially, only to cleverly come back to the source mythology. This sequel has absolutely no framework or cohesion whatsoever, starting out with a play on Hansel & Gretel and then moving on to an endless array of desultory action and terrible one-liners.

In fairness, the final act's "Stay Puft Marshmallow Man" climax is actually quite funny, with lines like, "Look at all of these little people running around; they have done nothing to deserve our reckless destruction," capturing the irreverent tone of the original. It's just unfortunate that everything leading up to this point views like an abrasive distraction to mask the lack of actual plot or purpose. (Alliance)