Setting aside the puzzling marriage of source material and medium, “Paws” at least makes for a breezy summertime diversion. Contrived but cute, the movie deserves credit for its indictment of insularity, as well as a few hearty laughs.
Stream Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank
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The screenplay, credited to the five original Blazing Saddles writers as well as Ed Stone and Nate Hopper, is relentlessly silly but only intermittently funny.
It’s a breezy, funny, highly self-referential flick steeped in movie history.
Visually, the movie is surprisingly inventive, with takeoffs on everything from manga to Hokusai prints. Sure, a lot of the jokes are dumb — you got a problem with that? — but “Paws” is quite smart.
Paramount’s limp, animated remake actually triggers new stereotypes in the service of trying to expose racism for a pre-teen audience. The studio seems to have reached for legitimacy by bringing the venerated Brooks along for the bumpy ride, darkening both legacies. What emerged sits uneasily at the corner of tribute, parody, theft and laziness.
Reckless cultural insensitivities aside, Stone and Hopper’s writing is simply not smart or funny. Poop and fart jokes comprise the core of their repertoire, and if you’re curious how reliant the film is on this material, Paramount is literally handing out whoopee cushions to promote the film.
“Paws of Fury” is an efficient yet underimagined animated fable that barely musters the flavor of a cliché Western comedy.
“The Legend of Hank” offers a few hints of the wit and wisdom of its predecessor but is mostly content to coast through a familiar story on the accumulated charm of its star-studded cast of voice actors.