Saturday, July 14, 2007

Surf's Up For Family Fun

First, let me make it perfectly clear that I did NOT want to see this movie. My reaction when the trailer came on before other movies was “not another penguin movie!” Now that my children are 11 and 13 I’m looking forward to fewer animated children’s movies and more PG and even PG-13 fare. In fact, I had planned to take my son (the older child) to Live Free or Die Harder, but he invited along a friend who wanted to see Surf’s Up a second time rather than Die Harder. So I very reluctantly went to “another penguin movie!”

The three of us were the only people in the theatre for a 5:50 p.m. Wednesday evening showing. The kids got a real kick out of that. It was like a private showing. I was pleasantly surprised by the movie. The only apparent reason for most of the characters to be penguins is a blatant appeal for the “cute factor.” Oddly there are Antarctic penguins, Australian penguins, and tropical island jungle penguins --- odd but entertaining. One major character is a chicken from Wisconsin. How a chicken from Wisconsin ends up on the back of a whale in the Southern Ocean is never explained. But then who cares? Another non-penguin is a badger (I think) surf promoter with a Don King hairdo. The chicken is daffy and way cool.

The movie is laugh out loud funny even in an empty theatre or maybe that’s especially in an empty theatre. The movie ultimately works because it is really a tale about following your dreams against all odds, friendship, loyalty and loving what you do. In this movie, winning isn’t everything. Everything is staying loose and having fun while doing your best. Winning is the byproduct of loving what you do and doing what you love. The win at all costs penguin surf champ who worships his trophies is a jerk. For the real winners, friends come first. In addition to being funny, the movie has a good moral for kids too. I recommend it. It has earned good reviews and they're well deserved.

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