Over the Hedge (2006)

Rated PG. Our ratings: V- 5; L – 3; S/N – 5. Running time: 1 hour 27 min.

So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbours, for we are members of one another.
Ephesians 4:25

Over the Hedge

This is a mildly funny tale satirizing suburban sprawl by showing us how things look through the eyes of the forest denizens who wake up one spring to discover that a huge housing project has sprung up over winter, displacing part of their habitat. Rascally RJ (Bruce Willis), a raccoon, is delighted to discover the housing development to be a source of abundance of food and gadgets because he finds himself in a perilous situation. He gets caught trying to steal the stored food stuff of Vincent the Bear (Nick Nolte) and loses it when it hurtles down the mountainside. Vincent gives him until the full moon to replace everything, including his prized blue picnic cooler.

RJ is startled to find a towering hedge where there had been a meadow, but when he crawls through, he is filled with hope because food and everything seems to be everywhere. Thus begins his manipulation of a group of fellow forest creatures to help him in stealing all that he needs—and then some. Verne (Garry Shandling) turtle is suspicious of RJ and not keen in taking what does not belong to them, but RJ is persuasive, convincing Stella (Wanda Sykes) the skunk and the others to join him. Being a loner all his life, RJ never lets them in on why he wants so much. This is no Wallace and Gromit, but the zany mayhem that ensues will evoke plenty of laughter from young and old, and even impart a lesson on the value of family. Adults will get a kick out of the references to a couple of classic films (when a character is named Stella, you can guess one of the films).

For Reflection/Discussion

1) How would you describe RJ at the beginning of the film? Would he make a very good friend, or would you always be wondering about his motives? How is he like such loners as Hans Solo or Shrek?

2) What do you think of his getting his new friends to help him gather food from the humans? Should he have told them why he wanted to do this? From the way they treat each other do you think they would have helped him anyway? How does this show that RJ is not able to trust others? Because he thinks everyone else is like himself?

3) How does RJ come to understand what Paul meant when he wrote the above line to the Ephesian Christians?