MOVIES | ‘The Nut Job 2’ leads March’s streaming releases

Surly is a city squirrel with a big character flaw: He doesn’t like to work.

But what Surly lacks in worth ethic, he makes up with shrewdness. That comes in handy after a local store — Maury’s Nut Shop – goes out of business and leaves behind a massive supply of nuts. Why hunt for nuts when you can just gorge on nuts someone else shelled? Dig in!

Surly and his city squirrel friends are seemingly set for life … until disaster strikes. It seems that one of Surly’s lazy friends forgot to shut off a basement boiler. That, in turn, led to the building blowing up, which in turn led to their nuts being vaporized.

What will they do now? Andie – an optimistic female friend – has an idea: They’ll hunt for food in the local park.

“Hard work always pays off,” she says.

And it’s a great idea, until they learn that the evil, money-hungry mayor has other ideas for that beautiful plot of land. He wants to turn it into an amusement park.

These squirrels aren’t going down without a fight, though. They’ll fight the mayor and his construction crew by any means necessary.

It’s all part of The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature (PG), an animated film that begins streaming on Amazon Prime March 3. It was widely panned by critics when it was released in theaters in 2017, but I enjoyed it. It’s funny and includes a great lesson about laziness and hard work, even if it does have a few minor content problems. (The violence is a little excessive for a cartoon and the jokes about regurgitation are disgusting. It contains no coarse language.)

Paul told the church at Thessalonica: “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Centuries earlier, Solomon wrote: “The desire of the sluggard kills him, for his hands refuse to labor” (Proverbs 21:25).

The Nut Job 2 give us one character (Andie) who believes squirrels should work for their food, and one character (Surly) who wants the easy path.

“We work hard. We store. We save. … ‘Easy’ doesn’t build character. ‘Easy’ doesn’t last,” Andie says.

The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature is rated PG for action and some rude humor.

Other family-friendly content streaming this month:


Benji (TV-PG, 2018) – The classic about the friendly dog is getting updated, and Netflix is aiming it directly at families. I haven’t screened it, but the trailer looks promising.

“People all over the world grew up having watched ‘Benji’ with their families,” Scott Stuber, head of original film at Netflix, told The Los Angeles Times. “We knew this film will allow our members around the world to keep sharing this story with their families. … And who doesn’t love an adorable dog?”

It begins streaming March 16.

Meanwhile, the original films – Benji (1974) and For the Love of Benji (1977) – begin streaming March 1.


March of the Penguins 2: The Next Step (unrated, 2018) – The follow-up to the marvelous 2005 documentary, this one features the same filmmaker (Luc Jacquet) and narrator (Morgan Freeman) as they tell a new story of a father and a son battling the elements of an Antarctic winter. Jacquet used airborne drones, under-ice diving and 4K cameras to capture the footage. Begins streaming March 23.

— by Michael Foust
Foust is a movie critic, a husband, and the father of four small children.

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