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Flushed Away

Not just a title
By ALICIA POTTER  |  November 1, 2006
2.5 2.5 Stars

In its first foray into computer animation, Aardman (Wallace & Gromit) retains its lovably lumpy, Claymation look. A bit of its trademark whimsy washes away, however, in the uneven story of Roddy (Hugh Jackman), a pampered pet rat who disappears down the toilet and into the purgatorial world of the sewer rodents. Desperate to return home, Roddy pairs with spunky she-rat Rita (Kate Winslet), only to end up battling the Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of toads (a boomingly evil Ian McKellen). The absurd set-up lends itself to an onslaught of wry gags and pointed satire, and a chase scene through the tunnels impresses. Yet the plot feels patchy and rushed, and the rats are so anthropomorphized (what’s with Rita’s tits?) that they’re just unappealing. The biggest laughs come courtesy of the ubiquitous, rubber-lipped slugs: a hermaphroditic Greek chorus with a talent for doo-wop, these expressive slimes turn in performances that are anything but sluggish.

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