It’s easy to write off an animated film (or any film, really) that’s aimed at children as something adults don’t need to necessarily “get.” Certainly, plenty of movies and shows aimed at children have skated by on subpar elements. Not everything can be a Pixar film (not even a Pixar film, sometimes), but that doesn’t mean throwing together a slapdash attempt at cold box office cash should be allowed to get through to audiences. So whoever thought that Norm of the North was worth releasing to audiences at all, let alone to theaters, should have their head examined.
Seriously. Norm of the North is a film with a leading vocal performance by Rob Schneider, and he’s nowhere near the worst part of this movie. No, it’s a combination of lazy writing and subpar animation for 2006, let alone 2016, that really sinks Norm of the North.
The plot of the film, as much as there is one, focuses on Norm (Schneider), a polar bear who’s inherited an ability to talk with humans from the king of the Arctic, his Grandfather (Colm Meaney). When a developer named Mr. Greene (Ken Jeong) decides to build a gated community in the Arctic, the rest of the animals decide to leave the humans alone, especially since Grandfather has disappeared from the community. Norm, however, decides to go to New York City to try and save his home. He’ll get some assistance from Greene’s assistant, Vera (Heather Graham), as well as a trio of lemmings with the physicality of the Minions.
Of course, Norm is able to get around since he can talk like a human, unlike nearly every other animal in the film. Beyond that, he’s able to convince most people that he’s a human in a convincing bear suit, all the way down to the smell. Norm’s also able to make pop culture references and repeatedly twerk to knockoff versions of pop songs, even though there’s little in the Arctic to let him know anything about human life in the first place.
Look, rather than go on for several more paragraphs (which would equal a part of my life I can’t get back), I’ll just say this: even children have some level of discerning quality, and this isn’t quality. No adult is going to want to see this, at least not sober. Letting a child watch Frozen for the billionth time is a better option than a single screening of Norm of the North. This is a film that runs under 90 minutes, and includes a solid minute (or more) of the lemmings pissing in inappropriate places. They might as well turn around and aim directly at the audience.