By extension of the film's unending niceness, Waititi has made a movie mired in the middle-ground, a terrain marred by the absence of innovation.
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[Waititi's] nimble adaptation here combines solid writing with an entire bag of filmmaking tricks that includes visual gags, unexpected cuts and quick montage sequences to score laughs from the get-go. He also cleverly exploits who these people are to get the audience in stitches.
It infuses an outdoorsy survival tale and a coming-of-age story of friendship with Taika Waititi's penchant for distaff flakiness.
For the most part, pic’s sheer good-naturedness pulls off a not particularly inspired crusty-old-coot-thawed-by-young-scamp concept, maintaining an agreeable tonal balance despite occasional wobbles between spoof, sentimentality and silliness.
The best thing the director has going for this one is the talented young actor playing Ricky Baker, as he constantly tries to emulate his tough "gangsta" heroes like Tupac Shakur. (He even names his dog "Tupac.")
Throughout his films, Waititi has always been skilled at melding comedy with trauma and crafting screenplays with crowdpleasing callbacks. Hunt for the Wilderpeople is another such example of amiable, kind-hearted storytelling.
Filmmaking this fresh, this vibrant, and this affecting for all ages is rare these days.
Works best when it straddles the same line between mild hostility and equally mild affection.
As the proceedings grow increasingly more far-fetched, the story starts to feel thinner, any semblance of reality increasingly abandoned. What keeps Hunt for the Wilderpeople afloat are the full-blooded characters that populate it.
Warmly funny and deeply delightful, Hunt For The Wilderpeople is a tale of two misfits told with such generosity of spirit and consistent good humour that it’s a pleasant surprise to discover how sneakily touching it is as well.