We gave it a C+
What a free ride the computer-animated feature Flushed Away (PG, 84 mins., 2006) got from most critics last fall. An oil-and-water hybrid from England’s Aardman studio (home of bucktoothed, clay-animated Wallace & Gromit) and DreamWorks’ CG wing (Shrek central), it’s a bipolar mismatch. Droll British-flavored humor alternates abruptly with frenetic made-in-America slapstick, as pet mouse Roddy (Hugh Jackman) gets bounced from his comfy Kensington cage into the London sewers, where he tangles with feisty ship-running rat Rita (Kate Winslet). Whenever the story sags, in comes another irrelevant gag with singing slugs. Their billing on the DVD — ”All-New Animated Slug Songs!” — is a cheat, since the two ”songs” run about one minute total. A commentary by first-time feature directors Sam Fell and David Bowers cements the impression of nice people without a narrative game plan. (Further evidence on YouTube: the movie’s trailer, featuring two butler characters excised from the film.) DreamWorks cut off its partnership with Aardman after Flushed was a wash-out. That may be better for Aardman’s artistic health.