Perhaps, in the wake of Paddington 2, this only ever had a shot at being 2018’s second-best movie based on a classic British children’s book about an anthropomorphic mammal in a blue coat, but it’s still a kid pic more with more charm than smarm. Nominally based on the Beatrix Potter characters, it casts Peter (voice of James Corden) as a mischievous bunny who clashes with Thomas (Domhnall Gleeson), the city-dweller nephew of Mr. McGregor who inherits his uncle’s farm; neighbor Bea (Rose Byrne), an artist who loves drawing the bunnies, provides both romantic interest for Thomas and surrogate parent for Peter. Director Will Gluck makes the action more Bugs Bunny than Peter Rabbit in its slapstick intensity, and leans hard into referential humor and fourth-wall-breaking in a way that undercuts the half-hearted attempts to give Peter’s story an emotional hook. But the gags are at least generally amusing rather than annoying, with Gleeson and Byrne committing fully to playing opposite CGI critters. While it may be a low bar, it’s nice nowadays when a family film makes you chuckle more than it makes you feel bad for young viewers.
Director: Will Gluck
Producer: Will Gluck, Zareh Nalbandian, Doug Belgrad, Jodi Hildebrand, Catherine Bishop, Susan Bolsover, Emma Topping, Rob Lieber, Jason Lust and Jonathan Hludzinski
Cast: James Corden, Fayssal Bazzi, Domhnall Gleeson, Sia, Colin Moody, Sam Neill, Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, Daisy Ridley, Rose Byrne, Christian Gazal, Ewen Leslie, Natalie Dew, Terenia Edwards, Marianne Baptiste, Gareth Davies, Vauxhall Jermaine, Tom Greaves, Alexandra Gluck, Taryn Gluck, Sam Haft, Sacha Horler and Will Reichelt