Norm of the North full movie review - "Norm of the North" looks like fun, but quickly goes south.
Have you ever put together a 1,000 piece puzzle? If so, you know the frustration of dealing with pieces that look like they should fit, but don't.
You might be able to force them together, but then the picture they form makes it clear that they really shouldn't have been joined. Now, imagine that someone has mixed together several boxes of 1,000 piece puzzles. You may be able to find some combinations of pieces that seem to fit together quite nicely, but the picture they form doesn't make sense and isn't very pleasing to look at. That's what it's like watching the animated comedy "Norm of the North" (PG, 1:26).
Norm (voiced by Rob Schneider) is a polar bear in the arctic. And he's a very special one at that. He chases a seal that he aims to eat for lunch, but when Norm finally corners the cute little guy, he just can't go through with it and ends up hugging and talking to him. Norm also loves to dance and doesn't mind twerking to entertain the tourists that are coming to the arctic in increasing numbers. To top it all off, Norman even has the ability to "talk human", which seems to delight humans more than it shocks them. It's a good thing that Norm is so special, because he happens to be royalty! His grandfather (Colm Meaney), who also has the ability to talk to humans, was the King of the Arctic (until he mysteriously disappeared). Now Norm's father is the king and, one day, the job will pass to Norm ? IF he can start taking things more seriously and become a real leader. Of course, the script soon gives him that chance.
A New York real estate developer named Mr. Greene (Ken Jeong) has plans to drop pre-fabricated homes in the Arctic, but he needs the endorsement of Councilwoman Klubeck (Salome Jens) who insists that Greene first gets his company to an 85% "approval rating", which is somehow measured by a computer-generated gauge that pops up throughout the movie. To get to that arbitrary 85%, Greene has the help of his intrepid assistant Vera (Heather Graham) who does everything from supervise the production of a commercial being filmed at one of Greene's model homes in the Arctic to finding an actor who can become a beloved mascot representing Greene Homes. Oh, and Vera has a precocious daughter named Olympia (Maya Kay) who is desperate to get into an elite prep school, but could really use a recommendation from Mr. Greene, an alumnus of the school. Now, if all this is starting to sound a little? forced, I promise you it's not because I'm describing the plot poorly. (See opening paragraph.) When Norm learns of the plans to develop the Arctic, he comes up with a plan to dissuade humans from taking over his beloved homeland. He stows away on a ship headed for New York, accompanied by three enthusiastic, devoted and seemingly indestructible arctic lemmings (a combination of the Minions, which originated in the "Despicable Me" movies, the Ewoks from "Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi" and the tribbles from the original "Star Trek" series). Once in New York, Norm wins that role of the new Greene Homes mascot, with many people commenting on how realistic he looks ? and smells. The plan that Norm formulates is to ride his wave of increasing public popularity until he's in a position to expose Mr. Greene for the greedy and corrupt businessman he is and convince the people and Greene's investors that it's wrong to build houses in his frigid backyard. Vera starts spending a lot of time with Norm, assuming that he's just an actor who never removes his costume. Norm later meets and quickly bonds with Olympia who easily sees through Norm's "disguise" and wants to help him save the Arctic.
"Norm of the North" is an occasionally amusing movie made up of a collection of plot points that just don't fit. There are a few clever moments that adults may appreciate (like a brief, but funny "Titanic" sight gag), while the kids may appreciate the frenetic animation and the adorable mumbling lemmings, even if (or especially because of) their frequent potty humor. On the other hand, the kids around me in the theater didn't vocalize enough for me to be able to tell whether they were enjoying themselves or not, and the adults in attendance (if they're anything like me) likely found the plot very disjointed. (I even saw one couple with a little girl walk out of the theater less than half-way through the movie.) Made to look cute and entertaining by its advertising, "Norm of the North" quickly goes south. The film is a combination of "The Lion King", "Penguins of Madagascar" and "E.T. the Extraterrestrial", but with few of their charms, and plot points that feel forced together. The movie also features politically correct messages de jour about the evils of corporate America, harmful exploitation of the environment and the lack of importance of complete families (showing Olympia without a father for no apparent reason) and not even explaining why these things are evil, harmful or unnecessary. I read that "Norm of the North" was originally going "straight to video". I'm not sure why those plans changed, but it goes to show that first instincts are often the correct ones. "C"