NORM OF THE NORTH: FAMILY VACATION – Film Review

Overwhelmed with his Kingly duties, Norm’s (voice of Andrew Toth) crown is stolen and he embarks on a journey to find it in conjunction with repairing his family’s relationship.

One of the biggest cinematic mysteries of the 2010s is how in the world Norm of the North was released in theatres back in 2016. I, unfortunately, went to go see it back when it was released and was appalled at how awful it was in every sense of the word. Even if you didn’t know that it was originally planned to be a straight-to-video movie, you’d be able to tell it was made for video within the first few minutes alone.

Surprisingly enough, they actually got Rob Schenider to voice the titular character in that first film, but he has dropped out of the role for its subsequent sequels and has been replaced with Andrew Toth, who sounds the same. Honestly, though, both vocal performances are bad, and even though Toth does sound like he has fun portraying the bear, it’s simply not enough to save this animated disaster from being a dreadful viewing experience.

Ever since Pixar came out with Toy Story, the possibilities when it came to animated movies were suddenly endless. Some people look at an animated film and laugh because there’s no way that a movie supposedly made for kids could be fun and enjoyable for everybody to watch, right? Well, many animated movies have been released since the 90s that prove that animated movies are for everyone. Inside Out is one of the most memorable of the past few years as it was an emotionally powerful story set inside of a young girl’s mind that really played with your emotions in the best way.

Courtesy of Lionsgate

Kubo and the Two Strings is easily my favorite of the past decade and maybe even of all time. On the surface, Kubo seems like it could be a corny movie but it ended up being a movie capable of making grown adults cry thanks to its wonderful script, beautiful story, and expertly developed characters. Lots of kids’ movies these days have a great moral of the story included somewhere within. 2018’s Ralph Breaks the Internet dealt with problems relating to the over usage of technology, but it also showed kids how to be a better person to your friends.

Norm of the North: Family Vacation is not a movie that is going to teach kids valuable life lessons that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. It’s not even a movie that they’ll be able to be entertained by in the moment. It’s plain and simply a mess filled with humor that only young toddlers will be amused by.

Not even fifteen minutes into the running time, Family Vacation already comes equipped with fart and poop jokes. There is no smart humor anywhere throughout this movie. I vividly remember seeing the first film back in theatres and there were a few kids in the theatre with their parents and whenever a fart joke happened in the film, not even the kids were laughing. Maybe a three-year-old would laugh at something like that, but otherwise, I can’t see anybody genuinely enjoying the humor displayed throughout this movie.

To make matters worse, Norm is a horribly boring protagonist that essentially has no character development, and has had none throughout this entire series. He’s a goofy and clumsy bear that absolutely adores playing on his iPhone and even likes to twerk. Norm of the North has had several sequels now, and we have yet to see the titular character grow into a different person (or bear for this instance) and it’s getting really, really old now. Let’s hope that this is the last one we’ll have to sit through.

Norm of the North: Family Vacation is yet another atrocious entry in this children’s series filled to the brim with terrible jokes, a boring story, and a protagonist with no character development.

Overall Grade: F

MPAA Rating: N/A

Cast: Andrew Toth, Jennifer Cameron, Paul Dobson, Brian Drummond, Lisa Durupt, James Higuchi, Jonathan Holmes, Cole Howard, Lee Tockar

Directed by: Anthony Bell

Distributed by: Lionsgate

Release Date: February 25, 2020

Running Time: 90 minutes

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