Directed by Will Gluck
Naughty bunnies plunder a garden.
The Peter Rabbit that arrives in multiplexes this weekend has so much bad-boy attitude that Beatrix Potter devotees will “no doubt be scandalized,” said Michael Rechtshaffen in The Hollywood Reporter. But flimsy plotting is the graver offense of this live-action/computer-animated hybrid. An “overtly slapstick tone” is established right from the start, and despite the efforts of an “affably energetic” James Corden as the voice of the mischievous bunny, the movie ends up feeling hollow—content to string together gags rather than tell a solid tale. The screenplay is also painfully self-aware, constantly pointing out the storybook clichés it relies on rather than coming up with anything better, said Todd Gilchrist in TheWrap.com. Domhnall Gleeson and Rose Byrne have good moments as Farmer McGregor’s vengeful heir and the artist who lives next door, but Flopsy, Mopsy, and the rest of the side players are wasted. “On the plus side, a great deal of the comedy works,” albeit “at the expense of Potter’s sensitivity and delicacy,” said Steve Rose in TheGuardian.com. Like Peter himself, this lively comedy “makes a few wrong moves, but ultimately it gets away with it.” ■