Australian Council on Children and the Media

Nut Job 2: Nutty by nature.

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Not recommended under 7; parental guidance recommended 7-9 due to violence and scary scenes

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Nut Job 2: Nutty by nature.
  • a review of Nut Job 2: Nutty by nature. completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 14 November 2017.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 7 Not recommended due to violence, and scary scenes and characters
Children aged 7 to 9 Parental guidance recommended due to violence, and scary scenes and characters
Children aged 10 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Nut Job 2: Nutty by nature.
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes and animated violence
Length 91 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The Nut Job 2 is an animated movie in which Surly (voice of Will Arnett), a squirrel, leads a group of forest animals who have been living the life of luxury in a derelict nut shop. The animals have become lazy and fat and Andie (Katherine Heigl) tries to make a difference by teaching the young squirrels to forage for their food. They are reluctant to learn, however, as food is easily come by in the nut shop. This all changes one day when the nut shop explodes and the animals have to learn how find food in the park. This option is then threatened when the Mayor of Oakton (Bobby Moynihan) decides to turn the park into an amusement park, mainly to please his spoilt daughter Heather (Isabella Moner). The animals are trapped by animal controllers and forced out of the park.

The animals decide to fight for their park and much mayhem ensues when they attack the amusement park to win back their territory.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Conservation versus development

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is a lot of violence and accidental harm in this movie, mostly done for laughs. Some examples include:

  • Surly is chased by kids and gets hit by a bicycle.
  • Surly and his friend Buddy (Tom Kenny) try to steal food and get run over by a police car.
  • Surly jumps off the back of a taxi and slams into a mailbox (on a few occasions).
  • A tractor runs over Surly and he hangs on to a fuel line, which he cuts with his teeth. Surly is then shown being electrocuted.
  • Precious a dog, accidentally swallows one of the creatures.
  • The animals are chased by golfers who hit at them with their golf clubs.
  • The animals fire ketchup and mustard at the Mayor and his guests in the amusement park.
  • The nut shop explodes in flames
  • Heather has a catapult which she frequently uses to shoot at Precious and Surly.
  • An animal controller puts a stick of dynamite into Mole’s hole and blows him up into the sky.
  • The Mayor drives his vehicle onto the footpath because he doesn’t want to wait in a queue. People have to scramble from the road and a man is stuck to his windscreen. The Mayor wipes him away with the wipers. He also causes many cars to crash.
  • Mr Feng punches Surly and throws him against a wall.
  • Heather plays violently with her dolls – making them fight each other.
  • The Mayor fires at Surly and Buddy with a crossbow.
  • The animal controllers suck up the animals in large vacuums.
  • Andie is hit by a dart and knocked out.
  • Heather and an animal controller fire darts at Precious and Frankie with a huge gun and then she starts attacking them with a mallet.
  • Heather gets shot with a dart.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • The Mayor is a large, scary looking man who shouts and rages when he doesn’t get his own way. He also bullies and bribes people to get what he wants.
  • Heather is just like her father, or even a little worse. She is quite evil and a very scary character. She screams and stamps her feet when she doesn’t get her own way.
  • The cute mice that turn into vicious creatures are scary.
  • The animals are in constant peril being chased and attacked by men and machines.
  • The animal controllers look scary in their protective clothing and large gas masks.
  • There are lots of explosions, crashes and things being set on fire, including the nut shop where the squirrels live.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Surly is caught in a trap.
  • Heather makes her dog Frankie perform tricks. One trick involves pretending to fire a machine gun at him to make him dance.
  • Surly and Buddy enter a dark alley which Buddy is scared of. They see an evil looking doll with staring eyes, one of which falls out. In the alley, they meet Mr. Feng, a cute looking mouse who is quite vicious. They follow him into a den where there is an army of other mice just like him. The den is dark and candle lit and the mice are quite violent. Mr Feng says they have become ‘weapons of mass destruction’.
  • Surly goes into the Mayor’s office and is scared by the animal heads that are trophies on the wall.
  • Buddy falls from a ledge to the ground and is seen lifeless. Surly carries him home and he is unconscious for quite some time.
  • Surly tells how he met Buddy during a hurricane – the wind is blowing and Buddy is blown out of his tree. Surly saves him then Buddy has to save Surly.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Some of the younger children in this age group could be scared by the above-mentioned scenes

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

OK for this age group

Product placement

Nothing of concern, although there is likely to be associated merchandise.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Frankie is attracted to Precious – his tongue hangs out and he starts to drool.

Nudity and sexual activity

Nothing of concern

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • The Mayor is seen drinking champagne
  • Heather looks as if she’s ‘high’ after being hit with a dart.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including name calling such as ‘moron’ and ‘ignorant layabouts’.

In a nutshell

The Nut Job 2: Nutty by nature is an animated comic movie which has some quite dark humour in it. It is also action packed and quite intense and scary for younger viewers. It is not recommended for children under seven but will probably be enjoyed by older children.

The main messages from this movie are that ‘individually we might be tiny but together we are giants’ and that nothing in life is free – we have to work to live.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • team work and collaboration
  • loyalty
  • friendship
  • protection of the environment and animals. 

Parents may wish to discuss Heather’s character as a good example of how not to behave.

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