The Ant Bully (PG)

Animation 88 July 28, 2006
By Robert Wilonsky
This is based upon a very short children's book by John Nickle, a beautifully drawn if crudely told tale of a boy named Lucas, who sports Coke-bottle glasses and a propeller skull cap and is picked on by a buzz-cut bully named Sid. Lucas, prone to tantrums and crying jags, decides he too will become a tormentor of those smaller than he -- in this case, the ants living in the pile in his front yard. John Davis, the director of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, has made small alterations to Nickle's tale in order to render it a feature; he's also cast it with the requisite big names, among them Nic Cage, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, and Paul Giamatti. And though it lacks the Pixar razzle-dazzle of A Bug's Life or the neurotic charm of Antz, The Ant Bully isn't meant to play grown-up; it's a kids movie for kids, and Davis approaches it as though he and his cast are merely storytellers trying to reach kids rather than show-offs trying to impress their parents. The Ant Bully's just a little movie about a little guy who turns into a little bug for a while, and learns some big things along the way. And a little can, sometimes, go a very long way.
John A. Davis Nicolas Cage, Alan Cumming, Zach Tyler Eisen, Paul Giamatti, Myles Jeffrey, Regina King, Cheri Oteri, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Jake Szymanski John A. Davis, David Reynolds Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman, John A. Davis Warner Bros. Pictures

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