If story exists as a model of human psychology as Narrative Science claims, then there can be no better instance of what it must feel like to inhabit an ADD-saddled mind than The Croods.
Bouncing from one unconnected encounter to the next, this episodic tale offers little in terms of real substance. Most of this has to do with its confusion over who the Main Character is. Curious daughter Eep (Emma Stone) begins the film in that position but somehow loses it somewhere in the middle to risk-adverse father Grug (Nik Cage). Is it a daughter/father story or a father/daughter story? With no real clear answer in sight, the Audience loses connection with who they’re supposed to be, and thus loses empathy for the on-screen events. Heavy-handed dialogue at cliff’s edge tries to resurrect that symbiotic relationship between Author and Audience, but it’s too little too late.
This, however, is not The Croods worst offense.
In perhaps the most bizarre example of flawed emotional logic ever put on film (virtual or otherwise), overly protective father Grug changes his resolve before completing his growth of character. “Never not be afraid” becomes “Never be afraid” and then we see him evolve to that place in an entirely new sequence. The result delivers a second-hiccup to the film’s half-baked ending—one that already feels more like a Midpoint than a Crisis of Character. Order carries with it meaning. The reason you have a story is to bring a character to the point where they can make that decision—to switch the order defies the natural order of things and just plain feels weird.
Occasionally funny and certainly colorful, The Croods should work well for the easily distracted crowd.