That dog Peabody and his boy are a couple of cool cats. Hello moviegoers, Ty Burrell (Modern Family) and Max Charles lend their voices to the Title characters in “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” a knowledge infused, time-traveling adventure based on the late 50’s cartoon series. Mr. Peabody is a beagle, if you weren’t sure. He’s also the smartest being in the world; so smart that he’s the great Leonardo da Vinci’s muse.
‘Mr. Peabody & Sherman’ (2 ½ sweet potatoes out of four) Stars: Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Ariel Winter, Stephen Colbert, Leslie Mann, Stanley Tucci, Allison Janney; Director: Rob Minkoff ; Genre: Comedy Animation; Rated: PG; Runtime: 90 minutes; Opens: Friday, March 07th 2014.
Peabody (Burrell), who lives in a penthouse atop a New York City skyscraper, built a time machine called the WABAC as a means to provide Sherman (Charles), his adopted son, with a firsthand education of history – all in preparation for his first day at school. The likeable and congenial Sherman is seven years old by this time. Enter Penny Peterson, classroom bully voiced by (Ariel Winters). She takes exception to Sherman unwittingly showing her up in class with his knowledge of history. When they go to the lunch hall she calls him a dog and puts him in a headlock which forces Sherman too bite Penny – like a dog.
The fallout results in Peabody having to prove to social services rep. Ms. Grunion – Allison Janney – that he’s fit to be Sherman’s dad mainly because she doesn’t think a dog should be allowed to adopt a boy. Peabody in his attempt to prove his worthiness invites to dinner Ms. Grunion and the Petersons – mom and dad Peterson are voiced by (Leslie Ann) and (Stephen Colbert), respectively.
Things go awry when Penny convinces Sherman to take the WABAC for a spin. Their time travelling gets them into plenty of trouble. At one time Penny is engaged to King Tut and being prepared for her journey into the afterlife while another situation results in Peabody falling over a cliff. Fearing that Mr. Peabody is dead, Sherman breaks the ‘rule’ of traveling back to a time where he exists to get help from Peabody himself. This creates a time rift and further complicates Peabody’s situation with Ms. Grunion. Thankfully, for him, love will conquer all as it relates to Ms. Grunion. But in the meantime, there is the little matter of a time rift that requires Peabody’s immediate attention.
‘Mr. Peabody & Sherman’ offers the cliff notes version of a number of historical events, which serve to highlight the movie’s most important theme which is that of inclusion. From bullying at school to the Dynastic philosophies of ancient Egypt and the events that led to the French Revolution where the cantaloupe was also introduced as the lowest of fruits; how history might have turned out if fairness was ever the choice made?
There isn’t much of a soundtrack, but aided by a number of strong vocal performances, ‘Mr. Peabody & Sherman’ is good humor that whips about the time-space continuum with just enough action and historical puns. The science jargon will probably go over most of our head – it did mine and sometimes Sherman’s – but that’s part of the charm of this duo and this movie. I give ‘Mr. Peabody & Sherman’ 2 ½ sweet potatoes out of four.
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