screenplay by Don Rhymer and Ash Brannon & Chris Buck & Chris Jenkins
directed by Ash Brannon & Chris Buck
by Walter Chaw I guess it's fair to say that Ash Brannon (Toy Story 2) and Chris Buck's mockumentary Surf's Up is a successful send-up of the Endless Summer-style documentary recently revived by Stacy Peralta's Riding Giants--but its triumph as such is relegated to so microscopic a genre that its usefulness as satire is negligible. It might delight a few guys who revere Bruce Brown's waterlogged hagiographies or, closer to the vein, the handful of folks who'll actually recognize that surf legends Kelly Slater and Rob Machado make cameos--but we're a long way here from a roomful of toys coming to life when their owner is gone, and while it's tempting to laud Surf's Up for being ambitious, it's frustrating that the picture has to dedicate a tedious amount of time to the usual slapstick gags just to apologize for its obscure premise. Far from condemning it as the next Shrek, though, I'd say the worst thing about Surf's Up is that it's clever enough to leave you expecting more--and inoffensive enough (unless scenes of a primitive tribe of cannibal penguins can somehow be traced back to Native-fear flicks or intolerance towards Polynesians) to leave you wishing some of the "nuggets" its anachronistic Chicken Joe (Jon Heder, in the first performance of his career that didn't leave me wanting to punch his mother) mentions were in more obvious display in the filmmakers.