Starring: Rob Schneider, Heather Graham, Ken Jeong
Directed by: Trevor Wall (debut)
Written by: Daniel Altiere (debut), Steven Altiere (debut) and Malcolm T. Goldman (debut)
If you’re one of the many parents who will get coerced into taking your little one(s) to watch “Norm of the North” (or even worse, buying it when it hits DVD so your indiscriminate child can watch it on a loop for a month before tiring of it), someone should give you an award for your endurance for pain. It’s only January, but “Norm of the North” just might end up being the worst animated film to come out of 2016.
Originally slated to get dumped straight to DVD, “Norm” stars actor Rob Schneider (“The Ridiculous Six”) as the title character, a hero polar bear who sets off to stop a developer (Ken Jeong) from building condos in the Arctic and pushing Norm and his fellow polar bears away from their habitat.
Even delivering a message on a child’s level about global warming and the importance of taking care of the environment is still a heavy handed one. Screenwriters Daniel and Steven Altiere never find a way to cater to youngsters whose only interest will probably be to cheer for the twerking polar bear shaking his ass to pop music. This is the type of kid film that dumbs down every element of the story. Who cares what cause Norm is fighting for as long as there are half a dozen fart jokes thrown in for good measure, right?
Aside from the weak environmental message, “Norm of the North” is amateurish animation. Developed by Splash Entertainment, a TV animation studio based in California, and Assemblage Entertainment, an animated studio based in Mumbai, India, “Norm” is rendered by animators with no imagination, sense of humor, or skill that could compete with the likes of Pixar, DreamWorks, Disney, Nickelodeon, Warner Bros., Laika, or any of the top animation companies working today. The characters’ designs are clunky and their personalities are highly annoying. What’s more annoying is this excuse for a script. Who the hell is stupid enough to move into a condo built in the Arctic, anyway? Hopefully everyone involved with “Norm of the North” will also find their way to the polar region and fall into an ice fishing hole before they realize how fast and cheap they can make a sequel.