With people counting down the days until 'Shrek the Third' and the bar for must-sees getting raised ever higher, animated movies need to pack far more of a wallop now than they did even five years ago. Just look at the grumbles that greeted Pixar's recent 'Cars' – in the mid 1990s it would've been considered a masterpiece. And 'Open Season' is yet another one of those films that will be forgotten about long before the green ogre returns to conquer the box office.
It tells the story of Boog (Lawrence), a bear who was found as a cub by park ranger Beth (Messing) and has been raised in her garage. He's spoilt rotten, has no survival or hunting instincts and won't even sleep without his cuddly toy.
Boo's one-antlered pal Elliot (Kutcher), meanwhile, is too stupid to fend for himself and gives the moose an even worse name. When the duo cause more mayhem than Beth can talk them out of, they're released back into the wild at the worst time for any animal: the start of hunting season.
Lawrence and Kutcher - who apparently never met during the making of this film - are engaging vocal talents for the characters of Boog and Elliot but they're let down by a script which lacks oomph. While the animation is flawless, the gags are run-of-the-mill and 'Open Season' never gets the most out of the characters at its disposal.
Once you're familiar with the Shrek/Donkey dynamic you know all you need to know about Boog and Elliot's friendship.