Rob Schneider Is a Polar Bear – Norm of the North (2016)

Bear in the city.  So this is about a polar bear named Norm (Rob Schneider) who has the ability to communicate with humans using plain English… for some undisclosed reason.  When humans plan to start building houses in his arctic home, he has to travel to New York to see if he can talk them out of it.  Now I’m not the one that’s going to be the champion defender of this, but I do think that the deck was unfairly stacked against Norm of the North.  Rob Schneider is box office poison without Adam Sandler, critics destroyed this, and nobody went to see it.  I only watched it myself so I can have a respectable ‘worst of’ list come the end of the year.  I can tell you right now, this is not going to make that cut, not because it’s actually worthwhile, but because it is so generic, it’s difficult to hate.

2The fish is out of the water, and everybody learns a valuable lesson.

The lacking quality that you notice right away is how cheap the animation is.  It really looks like this could have been rendered another four to five times, but they clearly didn’t have the budget for it, so what you see is what you get, and it is right there on the screen.  Because it is so inexpensive, it makes it look like this should have gone straight to TV a la a Disney Channel original.  Another glaring flaw about this is how much this lifts from every other animated movie out there.  For example, the main villain of this acts and moves like Chester V from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.  And what is more popular than those little yellow chicken nuggets AKA Minions?  They have these little lemmings that do the same exact thing: they solve all the problems, they are indestructible, they don’t speak any sort of intelligible language, and they get into constant mischief.

1They tried doing it in The Lorax, and it didn’t work there, either.

This isn’t the worst thing in the world, and I can tell you upfront: this isn’t as bad as the 9% rottentomatoes rating would lead you to believe.  That said, it is bland and predictable at every single turn, and while it’s never offensive, it’s always lame.  Typically, the more annoying the actor, the better the voice actor they make, such as Gilbert Gottfried in Aladdin, and Rob Schneider isn’t terrible here, but at the same time, he’s not really doing all that much, either; if you didn’t know this was Rob Schneider going in, you probably would fail to guess it, because he is unrecognizable.  The only area that I do take away points is the excessive amount of dancing featured in this.  I know animators have difficulty resisting the call of the dance break, and this has two dance sequences in the opening ten minutes.  It’s a trope in animated movies that needs to go away, much like this movie will be from the public’s mind before summer hits.

Norm of the North (2016) **

– Critic for Hire

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