‘Ice Age’ drifts into mediocrity

The newest installment in the “Ice Age” animated movie series, “Ice Age: Continental Drift,” continues to follow Manny (Ray Romano), Sid (John Leguizamo), and Diego (Dennis Leary) on their escapades around the ice-covered Earth.

In “Continental Drift,” Manny’s daughter, Peaches (Keke Palmer), is growing into a rebellious teenager who thwarts her father’s authority at every turn. As the continent starts to rip apart—inadvertently caused by Scrat (Chris Wedge)—Manny, Sid, and Diego are separated from their family. The trio is attacked by pirates, sirens, and the icy sea as they try to make their way back to the continent.

During this whirlwind adventure, the animals are joined by Sid’s Granny (Wanda Sykes), who unintentionally causes grief to her caretakers. There is a growing attraction between Diego and Shira (Jennifer Lopez), a member of the notorious pirate crew. Also, Peaches is trying to become part of the “in” crowd, which is changing her friendship with molehog Louis (Josh Gad). Scrat is up to his usual acorn chasing antics, and Crash (Sean William Scott) and Eddie (Josh Peck) continue to wreak havoc.

Needless to say, there is a lot going on in this movie. There is really no time to develop any one story, so the film ends up being a jumble of fragmented plot lines that never really intertwine effectively. The introduction of at least eight major characters to an already large cast allowed for very little character development. To discuss character development in a kid’s movie may seem a bit pretentious, but even the little ones need to care about a character to really get into the movie. “Continental Drift” threw so many characters on the screen at one time, there was no time to get to know them.

Not to say that the movie was horrible. It was good, just not great. Granny, for example, could have stolen the show. She was hysterical with her crotchety old-lady attitude. Unfortunately, she just wasn’t given the screen time she so richly deserved.

“Ice Age: Continental Drift” is a funny heartwarming movie. It is not an epic adventure that will leave you hoping for more sequels, nor is it a waste of money. It was entertaining while it lasted, but not a movie that will be talked about and remembered as spectacular.