Of course, it begins with an acorn. In this version of animated history, where a squirrel chasing its one true love is largely responsible for the shifting of the tectonic plates, the third dimension provides ample excuse for characters to fly towards and zoom away from us, accompanied by whoops and yells. However, what could have been a staid series of clichés is rescued by some brilliant timing, inventive characterisation, and occasionally clever dialogue.
Sid the Sloth (John Leguizamo), Manny the Mammoth (Ray Romano) and Diego the Smilodon (Denis Leary) are back, joined by two wonderfully quirky characters – Grandma Sloth (Wanda Sykes) and Captain Gutt (Peter Dinklage). Naturally, the main characters are having family trouble. Peaches (Keke Palmer), daughter of Manny and Ellie (Queen Latifah), has begun to rebel, and Daddy's terrified of losing his little girl. Sid's family abandons him after offloading his stinky granny onto him. And a lovelorn beaver has a crush of, erm, mammoth proportions.
We know how the story usually goes – geological disaster, followed by adventure, followed by epiphany, followed by happy ending. En route, Scrat the Squirrel (Chris Wedge), and the possum twins Eddie (Josh Peck) and Crash (Seann William Scott) make you laugh every time they appear. An Indian character with a ridiculous accent may be thrown in for additional laughs.
To their credit, the filmmakers fashion a romance that tickles rather than grates, with the introduction of Shira (Jennifer Lopez), First Mate of a pirate iceberg captained by the tyrant Gutt. The franchise needed a strong antagonist to perk up, and Peter Dinklage is quite perfect as the menacing commander of the high seas. Several songs with ludicrous lyrics and infantile rhyme, a delightful sequence with chipmunks and the surprise appearance of a character at the end make this children's film rather enjoyable for adults.
But I do find it disappointing that each film in this series seems to have a progressively younger target audience. A case in point is that when Ellie asks if there are any questions as she leads an expedition for survival, someone comes up with: "When you take in water through your nose, does it taste like boogers?"
The film does take subtle digs at itself, and these are nicely accompanied by versions of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, varied in pace and instrumentation. With both 3D and computer graphics thoroughly exploited in the film, the chalk drawings as the credits play are a treat.
The Verdict: Ice Age 4 doesn't offer much new fare, but that shouldn't stop you from having a fun afternoon out at the cinema.
Stink Bomb, Version 2.0
Kya Super Kool Hain Hum
Director: Sachin Yardi
Starring: Tusshar Kapoor, Ritesh Deshmukh, Neha Sharma
When a grown man has a car called Pamela, and lives with a man called Adi, do you really want to know his story? Sigh! Sid (Riteish Deshmukh) is an out-of-work DJ who pimps his conveniently horny dog Sakru for a living. Adi (Tusshar Kapoor) is an out-of-work actor whose introduction makes you want to walk out. He dresses up as Devdas and calls himself 'Adidas', he poses with an Ekta, and calls himself 'Tiger'. He brands himself 'Bra.One' and promises support as he cups his pointy chest armour.
When Sid tells him he should stop aspiring to become an actor, since his dad is neither Jitendra nor Dharmendra, it only serves to highlight the pathos of the two lead actors, who've failed to break out of low-brow sex comedies despite the influential families they come from.
The dialogue is an orgy of tawdry puns and unsubtle innuendo. Boards that read 'Cumless Bhai welcums you' and 'La W***e Ka Dhaba' are piled on to lines like, "Only one part of me remains black after using this fairness cream...my eye-balls", "I'm Bhagyashree... call me BJ" and wordplay on the Marathi "fakt" and Urdu "fakhr". Sid tells Adi he'll buy sanitary pads because he's going through a "bahut bura period".
Adi goes to a tarot card reader who tells him a woman whose name begins with 'S' will bring him luck. So, he falls for a Simran (Neha Sharma). For no good reason, Simran likes him. For no good reason, she says she's lesbian. She also pretends her partner is Anu (Sarah-Jane Dias), the woman Sid has fallen for after causing her a wardrobe malfunction. Oh, Anu's a model with a rich Daddy (Anupam Kher) who has Mummy issues. The Mummy is called Rosemary Marlowe – the audience stopped laughing about the seventh time that name was punned on.
Chunky Pandey plays Baba3G, a fake spiritual guide who convinces Mr. Marlowe his parents have been reincarnated in two pugs. Of course, this begs twenty different variations of "kutte ka bachcha". And then, there's gay humour for the homophobic. Combined with Sid's tendency to say "d***s" when he means "disc", and his excitement when he sees the number 1769 – "ek saath 69", this allows ribaldry to hit a new low.
The laborious references to Sholay, Deewar and Anand grate, and even cameos by Anupam Kher and Kavin Dave can't save the film.
The Verdict: If you like this movie, you should probably be auditioning for its sequel.