Wallace and Gromit Go Long

Cheese-loving inventor Wallace and his faithful, mystery-solving pooch Gromit, stars of several Oscar-winning shorts by animator Nick Park (Chicken Run), arrive in fine form for their feature film debut.

The plot here, by turns delightfully droll and ludicrous, is sort of a Sherlock Holmes mystery meets The Fly by way of The Wolf Man, in which a human character, after having his psyche accidentally fused with that of a rabbit's, winds up transformed by night into a giant, rampaging bunny. It's up to our heroes to save the day, naturally, as they trip the light fantastic through a steady stream of sight gags, slapstick, puns, quirks (including several characters whose obsession with vegetables verges on the perverse), screwball set-pieces and bad English dental work. The movie's premise is just a wee bit thin to sustain an 85-minute running time, but Curse of the Were-Rabbit is a mostly wonderful ride, as well as a terrific homage to those old Universal horror films of the 1930s.

As in all of Park's movies, there's charm, wit and visual style to burn, all delivered via some quaintly dated but lovely-to-look-at claymation and a sublimely silly and oh-so-British comedic sensibility. Featuring the voices of Peter Sallis, Ray Fiennes and Helena Bonham Carter.

Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit (G) ppens Oct 6 at local theaters. HHH 1/2

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