screenplay by Steve Box & Nick Park, Mark Burton and Bob Baker
directed by Nick Park and Steve Box
by Walter Chaw Perfectly innocuous even though it's (very) occasionally mildly naughty (a pair of melon jokes, a makeshift fig leaf labelled "contains nuts"), Aardman's Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (hereafter Were-Rabbit) doesn't break a lot of new ground in the claymated pair's misadventures in serving up a workmanlike tale of love, loyalty, gardening, gadgets, and misguided medical experimentation. It takes an unusually long time to get started, for one, re-establishing the best-pals relationship between cheese-loving, jug-eared inventor Wallace and his faithful mutt Gromit (theirs is an Inspector Gadget/Brain sort of dynamic) with the kind of leisurely pace that feels more like a valedictory procession than something born of necessity. "Wallace & Gromit" cartoons have, after all, become a standby on the festival circuit, functioning as buffers between films and the palette-cleanser in all-shorts programs. But it's that very function, as the whimsical interstitial, that makes a feature-length presentation just a charming diversion that outstays its welcome ever so slightly. Unlike its feature-length predecessor Chicken Run, there isn't the bite of satire in Were-Rabbit--no light shed on the British social caste system and, likewise, few inroads made in the traditional love vs. status romance. What coalesces is an appreciation for the craft involved in realizing the picture and a suspicion that you're going to be hungry again in about an hour.