The Croods: A New Age

The Plot:

Seven and a half years after the first “The Croods” animated feature comes a sequel from Dreamworks that finds the prehistoric family challenged by rivals, the Bettermans, who are more evolved.

Lynn’s Take:

When thinking about the first cavemen and their families, garish colors that look like a Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper exploded on screen do not come to mind.

But that blend of hot pink, bright orange, brilliant blue, electric yellow and other vibrant colors is the fantasy world that they live in in “The Croods: A New Age, and it’s not pretty.

The visual theme is more suited for the Trolls, not Neanderthals. When they discover a paradise where exotic crops grow, it’s as if they taste the rainbow, with lots o’ goo.

Not that animated films need to be rooted in reality, but clever is the key, and this lackluster attempt to project these oafs as a sitcom nuclear family with their own issues is no “The Flintstones,” for it is mostly devoid of charm.

Let’s have more man cave jokes, with truly ‘new-agey’ males with manscapes and man buns.

The best animated films have both something for the kids and the grown-ups. The family audience is given enough slapstick for the kids to giggle about, but the script is thin and tedious.

This version of the Stone Age is over-stuffed, loud and travels at an annoying warp-speed. There are punch monkeys that need bananas, guerillas to fight and sloths to use as belts.

The A-list vocal cast is fine, but really, there isn’t a single character that you care enough about to journey with as they evolve.

Nicolas Gage is Grug, the put-upon family guy and Catherine Keener is his wife, Ugga. Their daughter, Eep (Emma Stone) has a boyfriend, Guy (Ryan Reynolds), who has shown them fire. He becomes the target of Phil and Hope Betterman (Peter Dinklage and Leslie Mann), who’d like him for their daughter Dawn (Kelly Marie Tran).

The funniest running gag is son Thunk’s fascination with a treehouse picture window, which becomes his entertainment screen. He’s voiced by Clark Duke.

Composer Mark Mothersbaugh has written a propulsive score, keeping it up tempo. When Gran (Cloris Leachman) recalls her girl group days with The Thunder Sisters, HAIM takes over the music.

I thought the 2013 original movie was an amiable adventure, but by now we’ve moved on with “Ice Age” sequels and new directions in animation. They needed to up the game instead of delivering a mildly amusing jumbled short-attention span tale

Even with the vivid 3-D visuals, this movie, at 95 minutes, seems generic and forced.