Despite its namesake, “The Croods” really starts off quite charming. The first two minutes of Kirk DeMicco and Chris Sanders’ DreamWorks animation stars two-dimensional cartoon cave drawings and Emma Stone’s (“Easy A,” “The Help”) self-deprecatory, girl-next-door narration.
After that, it’s mostly crude and predictable.
Stone’s Eep, a teenaged cave girl in a Flintstone-esque tiger suit. She’s going through the whole teenaged rebellion thing and doesn’t like her father’s (Nicholas Cage) strict curfews or didactic stories (they all end in death).
Her family’s routine changes when she meets a guy named Guy (voiced by Ryan Reynolds) and his pet sloth, Belt (voiced by Sanders himself). In the land before time, Guy’s a modern Prometheus with radical ideas of tomorrow. He’s the one who warns Eep that the world is ending (a.k.a. plate tectonics) and that the only way of survival is to keep moving forward.
Grug — that’s Eep’s dad — doesn’t like this any more than he likes change, but when their cave caves in, he reluctantly lets Guy lead them across Lisa Frank-colored jungles.
Written and directed by DeMicco and Sanders (the latter known for his credits in “Lilo & Stitch” and “How to Train Your Dragon”), “The Croods” slowly grow on you over their 98 minutes of screen time. First, it’s like being trapped on a long family vacation. You’re bored and miserable and really have to pee. But before long, you’re bamboozled by the sights — the aquamarine water, the viridian and fuchsia rainforests and the millions of tiny suns in the dark blue sky.
Even if you’re company is crude, at least you can enjoy the animation.
“The Croods” was written and directed by Kirk DeMicco and Chris Sanders. “The Croods” was nominated for Best Animation in the 2014 Academy Awards.