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Family Movie Review: Ice Age: Collision Course (PG)

IceAgeCollisionCourse ChesapeakeFamilyMovieReviewKernel Rating (out of 5): whole popcorn kernalwhole popcorn kernal

MPAA Rating: PG       Length: 94 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 6+. This fifth film in the “Ice Age” series places all the characters in danger when an asteroid threatens Earth, and there are some suspenseful scenes related to that plot; also, some bullying dinosaurs steal another dinosaur’s eggs, they try to eat a character, and they threaten to kill another. There’s a bizarre scene where tampering with gravity causes a character’s body to essentially fall apart, with his teeth falling out and other grotesque imagery, and in another scene a character dies and crumples into ash. Plus, a lot of bathroom humor, some feces- and butt-related gags, insult jokes, and some sexually suggestive jokes aimed at parents, like an amorous rabbit and one liners about online dating.

‘Ice Age: Collision Course,’ the fifth film in the franchise, doubles down on the anachronistic jokes and fast pace of the previous films. But its reliance on bathroom humor and whisper-thin characterizations are often exhausting.

By Roxana Hadadi

It’s been a busy summer for children’s animated films, but none of this season’s previous offerings—not “The Angry Birds Movie,” not “Finding Dory,” and not even “The Secret Life of Pets”—has felt as busy as “Ice Age: Collision Course.” This fifth film in the franchise doubles down on the random asides, sight gags, one-liners, and bathroom humor to pad its runtime, and with so much packed in, you’ll feel the exhaustion setting in early.

The film picks up some years after 2012’s “Continental Drift,” reuniting viewers with the franchise’s main characters. Mammoth Manny (voiced by Ray Ramano, of “Continental Drift”) is having a hard time accepting his daughter Peaches’s (voiced by Keke Palmer, of “Joyful Noise”) goofy fiancé, Julian (voiced by Adam Devine, of “The Intern”), despite wife Ellie’s (voiced by Queen Latifah, of “Miracles from Heaven”) encouragement that he give the desperate-to-please Julian a chance.

Saber-toothed Diego (voiced by Denis Leary, of “Draft Day”) is still dating Shira (voiced by Jennifer Lopez, of “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”) and now considering starting a family, while sloth Sid (voiced by John Leguizamo, of “Ride Along”) is still looking for love.

Meanwhile, squirrel Scrat (voiced by Chris Wedge, of “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs”) has chased his beloved acorn onto a UFO and ended up in space, where his wacky machinations knock planets around, create constellations, and inadvertently nudge a 300-mile-wide asteroid toward his home planet. Oops!

The thing is so huge that it could take out Earth, which is realized by weasel and “dinosaur whisperer” Beck (voiced by Simon Pegg, of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”), who discovers a tablet that shows such a cataclysmic event has occurred before—right where the Herd is living. But if Beck, Manny, and the rest of the crew can come up with a way to divert the asteroid, maybe they can all live—perhaps long enough for Manny to accept Julian into his family, or for Beck to outsmart some bitter dinosaurs that are hunting him, or for Sid to finally find a girlfriend. Crazier things could happen, right?

“Ice Age: Collision Course” tries hard to appeal to both parents and children, but the deluge of pop-culture references and lowest-common-denominator jokes actually build a distance between the film and its audience instead of drawing them closer together. There’s so much random stuff here—noted scientist Neil DeGrasse Tyson showing up as a figure in Buck’s brain, or Julian singing a recent song by the band Fall Out Boy, or characters gleefully yelling about “hashtags”—that the plot never really feels of its alleged place or time. Plus, the whisper-thin characters and the predictable plot won’t keep your attention, either.

Yes, Manny learns something about acceptance, and sure, there is a generic “change isn’t easy, but it’s part of life” message, but ultimately “Collision Course” just isn’t that interesting. Scrat’s adventures in space are the only consistently amusing and visually arresting part of this latest “Ice Age” film—otherwise, “Collision Course” is more of the same old for this franchise, and the same old isn’t very good anymore.

Interested in a previously released film? Read our reviews of films already showing in your local theater.

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