517949924 8 620 439 The Nut Job Trailer: A Heist Movie with Talking Animals

Surly the squirrel is a bit of an iconoclast. Bitter and misanthropic, Surly is kicked out of the local squirrel community to fend for himself in the city streets. Desperate for food to survive the winter, Surly comes up with a daring plan to knock over a nut vendor and eat like a king (of rodents). With a ragtag team of likeminded rats, moles, and gophers at his side, Surly sets out to commit a heist of not-so-epic proportions in The Nut Job.

The first trailer for this animated family comedy has arrived, and it is . . . pretty much exactly what you would expect. Sudden dancing, fart jokes, and a slobbery dog are all present and accounted for.

In all honesty, this preview for The Nut Job looks fairly dire. Beyond its modestly clever title and premise, the film doesn’t show off anything that hasn’t already been done in dozens of CGI-animated films featuring talking animals. Though there is a hint of the kind of the screwball zaniness that can keep even a cliché-ridden flick moving, the mid-January release date suggests a title being dumped in the off-season.

Of course, many unexpectedly great movies have been tripped up during their promotional phase by mediocre or outright terrible previews. The wonderfully daffy original Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs featured trailers that underplayed its true comic sensibilities, and as such, came as a pleasant surprise upon release. With any luck, The Nut Job is making a similar mistake, holding back its real strengths in lieu of yet more farting animals.

The Nut Job boasts the voice talents of Will Arnett (Arrested Development), Katherine Heigl (The Big Wedding), Brendan Fraser (The Mummy), Maya Rudolph (Turbo), Liam Neeson (A Million Ways to Die in the West), and Stephen Lang (Avatar). The film is directed by Peter Lepeniotis (Fantasia 2000).

The Nut Job will scurry into theaters on January 17th, 2014.