By Mandi Bierly
Updated November 03, 2006 at 08:59 PM EST
Flushed Away: Dreamworks Animation SKG

Before we review the reviews for Flushed Away, the new film from Aardman Animation and DreamWorks Animation, let’s review the promotional item they sent to EW: a small basketball hoop that has a toilet seat as the backboard and rim. One is hanging on the wall, outside of Steve Daly’s office. He let me take a few shots earlier this week. Enjoyable, but if you bring too much heat, the tape won’t hold. Really should’ve come with its own stand. On to the movie…

With a title like this; it really needs to be good. Apparenty, it is. For the most part. My favorite-ly named critic Eleanor Ringel Gillespie of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution insists it’s “an animated tale with more invention and laughs in its first 15 minutes than in Cars and Monster House put together…. The film lags a bit by its second hour, but the voice talent [pictured, left to right, are characters voiced by Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, Bill Nighy, Jean Reno, and Hugh Jackman] is so strong and the visuals so ingenious, you probably won’t mind.”

addCredit(“Flushed Away: Dreamworks Animation SKG”)

Some reviewers, however, did mind. Christy Lemire of the Associate Presssays, “It’s too frantic, too loud — which makes it too much like everyother all-star, animated, talking-animal movie that’s come out thisyear.” Variety‘sTodd McCarthy argues, “The tone has become more than a bit coarse, asif the filmmakers had heeded a call to compete with some of the moreraucous animated hits of recent vintage.”

Chris Hewitt of the St. Paul Pioneer Press answers the question that is on everyone’s mind: “Although Flushed Awaystarts with a rat being flushed down a toilet, it’s refreshingly low ontoilet-based humor.” Okay, not that one. The one about whether this isas good as Aardman’s previous efforts, the Wallace and Gromit films and Chicken Run: “Flushed Awayis not in their rarefied league (and, unlike them, it’s notclay-animated, although imperfections have been built into the computerimages so they resemble Aardman’s trademark clay animation), but it’spretty clever, anyway.” OK, then.