Displaced from their Arctic home, a polar bear named Norm and his three lemming friends wind up in New York City, where Norm becomes the mascot of a corporation he soon learns is tied to the fate of his homeland.
When I first heard that Rob Schneider was going to voice the lead character of Norm, an Arctic bear fighting for his home in “Norm of the North,” I was initially very hesitant. I have nothing against Mr. Schneider, on the contrary, I’ve enjoyed many of his movies, “Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo,” “The Hot Chick,” and I loved his turn alongside Sylvester Stallone in the criminally under-appreciated “Judge Dredd.” And therein lies the problem. Mr. Schneider has associated himself with so many peculiar and wacky characters, listening to him play the part of straight-laced Norm, took a little getting used to. I kept waiting for the famous catch-phrase he spouts in all of his movies, “You can do it!,” to materialize but within the first 10 minutes or so, he settled down and so did I.
When a polar bear named Norm (Rob Schneider) and his family and friends fear for their home when the nefarious Mr. Greene (Ken Jeong), owner of a large conglomerate based out of New York City, plans to start building in the Arctic region, it is up to Norm and his three lemming friends to go to the big apple to try and stop him. Along the way, Norm befriends Vera (Heather Graham), the company’s top sales person and her young daughter Olympia (Maya Kay), who just happens to be all about saving the earth. Naturally, Vera is not happy working for Greene and the more she learns about Norm and his plight, the more determined she is to help him and his family get their home back.
“Norm of the North” is clichéd and predictable but when has that ever stopped Hollywood? The bottom line here is, will the kids enjoy it? The press screening I went to had absolutely no children in attendance and sometimes, that makes all the difference, especially if it is a kid-oriented movie and I think I would have enjoyed the film more had I been able to hear the accompanying laughter of children. As it stands, the movie never panders to its young audience and it also brings the plight of the Arctic into view, giving children just enough information to want to inquire further. The animation is solid and the film delivers enough entertainment and laughs required to satisfy the short attention span of today’s kids and with “Star Wars” finally beginning to fade at the theaters, it’s about time for a new face.
In theaters January 15th
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