The Croods: A New Age

The Croods: A New Age aka Croods 2 is DreamWorks follow up to 2013 animated film, The Croods. The story picks up with the Croods and Guy outside of the cave, and they’re in search of a new home. They stumble upon a walled-in paradise that’s occupied by the Bettermans – a more evolved family using technology to solve their problems. With both families occupying the same space, the Bettermans wonder if the Croods belong in a “civilized world”.

When a new threat arises, the two families have to put the tension aside and work together.

To no surprise, The Croods isn’t breaking new ground. It is a fairly predictable story told in a tight 90 minute runtime. The story tries to put the hipster Bettermans against the Croods as some metaphor for how we should all get along. To its credit, the film tries to say something about how class divides people and the benefits of working together for a common goal. Sadly, most of the message is overshadowed by how insane Phil Betterman (voiced by Peter Dinklage) and Hope Betterman (Leslie Mann) are for the first 2/3 of the film – they’re almost unbearable. The characters distractingly over-the-top and almost too cartoonish, even for a cartoon.

The real joy of the film is Eep (voiced by Emma Stone) and Dawn Betterman (voiced by Kelly Marie Tran) and their adventures. The film was at its best whenever those two characters were interacting. There was a real opportunity missed to build around the two daughters building an unlikely friendship rather than a storyline revolving around which one of them ends up with Guy (voiced by Ryan Reynolds).

The Croods: A New Age is a fun family film for the holidays. As predictable as it is, the story is entertaining and is anchored by a very funny and wildly entertaining third act. Some of the charm from the first film is missing, but the same colorful silliness is present, and that’s enough.

Grade: B-