The direct-to-video animated sequel Open Season 2 gets a PG rating for "mild rude humor." So you've been warned when the picture opens with over-emotional mule deer Elliott crowing with pride over his great big "rack" (his antlers, that is). And you can strap yourselves in for plenty of jokes playing on weiner-dog Mr. Weenie. Kids old enough to get these jokes probably won't be watching Open Season 2 anyway, but parents who decide to sit down with their kids may wonder if these juvenile jokes are meant for them or just as a way to amuse the writers as they padded out a forgettable plot.
If Open Season 2 is the CGI animated equivalent of Chinese food (you'll be hungry again in an hour), it should satisfy the kiddies for the 76 minutes it's on the tube. The story concerns the long-awaited marriage of Elliott (Joel McHale, replacing Ashton Kutcher) to Giselle (returning voice talent Jane Krakowski). At the pagan altar, Elliott gets cold feet: he knew it'd be "forever," but no one told him about the "and ever" part. Luckily, a distraction interrupts the ceremony: Elliott spots Mr. Weenie (returning player Cody Cameron) being whisked away by his former owners in an RV caravan full of domesticated pets. So the "wilds" must take on the "pets" to save Mr. Weenie from reverting to a life of domestication, as Elliott holds Giselle at arm length and returns to the comfort of hanging out with Boog (Mike Epps, in for Martin Lawrence).
Open Season fans can take heart that McHale and Epps do a good job of emulating the original stars (McHale—host of TV's The Soup—is actually pretty funny), and Billy Connolly returns in the role of ornery squirrel McSquizzy. But Sony Pictures Animation devotes a limited budget for this enterprise; the animation dollars funnel into a couple of action set pieces: an escape from an RV campground and a climax at Pet Paradiso, with all the amenities (including a water slide) for pampered pets. The rest looks bright but bland. Steve Schirripa of The Sopranos is always a welcome presence, even as a CGI basset hound, and Crispin Glover goes for broke as a toy poodle named Fifi whose comic tic is threateningly repeating himself until red in the face. Open Season 2 works up decent comic energy, if few actual funny jokes, but we know we've been suckered when we arrive at the denouement: the enforced good will of yet another animated sing-along to a bygone pop hit ("(They Long to Be) Close to You").
Debuting on Blu-ray and DVD, Open Season 2 comes with a nice collection of bonus features to keep the kiddies occupied a little longer. The Blu-ray image is flawlessly crisp, and the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track is more than sufficient to capture every nuance of this definitive presentation of the film. The Blu-ray also comes with some exclusive bonus features: a BD-Live hookup to additional online content, and the Save Mr. Weenie! Game, which has viewers use the remote control to guide Elliott, Boog, McSquizzy, Deni and Serge through the forest, campground and water slide to, um, y'know, save Mr. Weenie.
Both editions include "Going Wild! with the Voice Cast" (14:45, HD) takes us into the recording studio and features interviews with co-directors Todd Wilderman and Matt O'Callaghan, Joel McHale, Steve Schirrippa, Cody Cameron, Mike Epps, producers Kirk Bodyfelt and Amy Jupiter. Though not interviewed, Jane Krakowski, Crispin Glover, Diedrich Bader, and Billy Connelly are seen at work at the mic.
"How to Draw Boog, Elliott and Fifi" (18:11, HD) is a cool tutorial with storyboard artist Sean Mullen; three "Deleted Scenes" (6:18, SD) are presented in animatic form; and because the song just won't die, we get another one of these: "Music Video 'Who Let the Dogs Out' By Baha Men" (3:32, HD). If your family loved Open Season, you can't go too horribly wrong here, but the returns are diminished.
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