Just when we thought Shrek and its sequels had gone as far as a franchise could with its fairy tale self-referential cleverness, this sequel to the modest 2005 hit gives it another shot with an inferior script but plenty of gusto.
Hoodwinked took the Red Riding Hood story and flipped it on its head, giving it a police procedural makeover and a whodunnit vibe with the characters being interrogated by detectives and facing charges of breaking and entering and disturbing the peace.
This sequel is less effective as a rescue mission with Mission Impossible undertones that also references The Silence of the Lambs, Kill Bill and The Matrix.
Granny (Glenn Close) and the Big Bad Wolf (Patrick Warburton), who work for the Happily Ever After agency, are called upon to rescue Hansel (Bill Hader) and Gretel (Amy Poehler) from Verushka, the witch (Joan Cusack) who lives in the Gingerbread House.
The mission is a bust when Granny is taken hostage by the witch along with the greedy, roly poly twins.
The witch wants to rule the forest and needs a baked good with magical powers to do it, but Granny is the only one who knows the secret ingredient.
Red (Hayden Panettiere) is now training with the Sisters of the Hood and is asked by Nicky Flippers (David Ogden Stiers) from the agency to get Granny and the twins back.
She is teamed with Wolf and as the pair bicker incessantly; Red often doubts her abilities as a trained warrior.
Hoodwinked Too has plenty of energy and enthusiasm, but a sub-par script filled with repetitive slapstick and crotch gags prevents it from being as much fun as the original.
Children cackled at the one-liners and parents giggled knowingly at the film references, but this sequel often feels stale due to its familiarity. We have already been down this fairytale path several times before.
The cast is good but the 3D effects are unimpressive.
After the disastrous live action Red Riding Hood earlier this year and this weak offering, Red might have to hang up her hood for a while.
HOODWINKED Too: Hood Vs Evil
Directed by: Mike Disa
Starring: Hayden Panettiere, Glenn Close, Joan Cusack
Rating: Three stars
Reviewed by: Julian Wright