Mr. Peabody and Sherman: I’m a Dog Too!

Posted: March 20, 2014 in Movies


 As a child of the 60’s I was spoon fed history via Peabody’s Improbable History and Literature via Fracture Fairy Tales for 30 minutes every Saturday.  I haven’t been able to look at history or literature in a straight way ever since.  So the reboot, Mr. Peabody and Sherman, had me taking to it like a dog with a bone.   When it comes right down to it, I’m a dog too.  Maybe we all are just highly intelligent dogs.  

In the new version Mr. Peabody is voiced by Ty Burrell of Modern Family (also in this week’s Muppets Most Wanted) who replaces the arch riposte of the Bill Scott original with a gentle, corrective, parental tone.  It’s a half neuter that only causes a minor limp.  Burrell still has that Phil Dunphy whine going on, especially since he voice casts opposite Alex Winter, his TV daughter and the movie’s catalyst for causing time to go out of whack.   In the time continuum of Mr. Peabody and Sherman, where Sherman is now Peabody’s adopted son, heir and mentor it just makes perfect sense.  This shaggy dog story of a movie is all about keeping both family and real history from falling apart. 

Peabody gets an upgrade to super-duper over achieving dog and quite possibly the smartest thing ever evolved.  Sherman downgrades slightly to loyal son, misunderstood and awkwardly social nerd just a few steps below highly functioning autistic.   Where the series was high on Aha! moments, the movie breezes by on ahhh so cute charm.  There is enough goo and poo poo to keep both small and tall time travelers entertained.  The free floating anomalies called historical puns were easily chuckled at by the small and big intellects in the audience. 

The crew visits the usual historical subjects: ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, The Renaissance, the American and French Revolution, two days ago and back to the future.   A brief montage on Sherman/Peabody personal history is as moving as the famous one from Up that chronicles Carl Fredricksen’s marriage.   Director Rob Minkoff (The Lion King, Stuart Little) keeps the pace fast and the adventure even faster.  The time lapses never get a chance to settle in nor the jokes stale. Mr. Peabody and Sherman gets a B from me.

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