Unless you’re truly desperate to park the kids in front of a big screen for 95 minutes of excruciating 3-D espionage, don’t bother with this follow-up to 2005’s “Hoodwinked” that trumpets the tagline: “Not all fairy tales go by the book.”
Returning to ‘Once upon a time’ land, it seems Red Riding Hood (voiced by Hayden Panettiere, since Oscar host Anne Hathaway has gone on to bigger-and-better things) is in training with a mysterious, covert female-warrior group called the Sisters of the Hood when she’s unexpectedly summoned by Nicky Flippers (voiced by David Ogden Stiers), who runs the superspy Happily-Ever-After Agency, a.k.a. the HEA. Horrors! The wicked witch Verushka (voiced by Joan Cusack), has abducted two ostensibly innocent children, candy-loving Hansel (voiced by Bill Hader) and his sister Gretel (voiced by Amy Poehler). And HEA has already dispatched Red’s Granny (voiced by Glenn Close) and her friends, operatives Big Bad Wolf (voiced by Patrick Warburton) and his squirrelly sidekick Twitchy (voiced by Cory Edwards). But that is just what Verushka wanted. She’s loathed Granny for reasons going back to their school days together. Plus, there’s the tasty added twist of a Sisters of the Hood secret recipe for a magic truffle falling into the wrong hands, empowering the greedy villains. So it’s spunky Red to the rescue! Martin Short replaces Jim Belushi as the voice of the Woodsman, with Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong articulating two of the Three Little Hench Pigs. ..plus there’s an accident-prone, banjo-playing Billy goat.
Along with allusions to other fractured Grimm fairy tales, the heavy-handed, humorless, yet pun-filled script is crammed with double-meaning references to strictly-adult fare like “Goodfellas,” “Silence of the Lambs” and TV’s “The Sopranos,” thanks to screenwriters Cory Edwards, Tony Leech, Todd Edwards and Mike Disa, who also directed. In addition, stale racial and ethnic stereotypes abound in a way that may be offensive to some parents.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil” is time-wasting 2. It’s a lame, absolutely unnecessary sequel.