Ice Age (2002) is a children's film from 20th Century Fox/Blue Sky. Its computer animation, although adequate, is below the technical standard of excellence set by Shrek and Monsters Inc. That doesn't matter, though, because this movie is funny. Damned funny.

The action starts with the Scrat, a half squirrel half rat fella with a long, almost prehensile snout and a passion for acorns, voiced (ok, squeaked) by the director, Chris Wedge. The hapless Scrat, trying to bury his acorn, sets off a monster avalanche and global glaciation. For the rest of the film, the Scrat appears sporadically, with his acorn, peripheral to the action. Pay close attention to the Scrat when he appears, as he's the most consistently funny character. In the DVD bonus features, there's a short that tells another chapter of his life. hint

The actual story follows a talkative ground sloth (John Leguizamo) and a grumpy mammoth (Ray Romano)in their quest to return a lost human child to its tribe. The quest is compromised by a double-dealing sabertooth (Denis Leary) with a secret agenda. There's an interlude with a flock of dodo birds, proving why they are extinct, a vidoe-game action sequence of sliding through an ice cave (watch the kid's hand when they see the UFO buried in the ice), and a slightly contrived but visually fun lava-under-the-ice sequence.

Contrived is a good word for the plotting of the film. That should bother me more than it does. I've switched off movies in disgust that were better plotted than this. In defense of Ice Age, the story isn't the reason you're watching this. It's the throwaway lines that the kids in the audience don't get, the broad slapstick, the guffaw/scene ratio.

I give it 18 stars out of 23 on the Eponymous Sliding Scale. Go ahead and buy it, on DVD (the special features are fun), but only if it's on sale.

N-Wing says he doesn't think it's as funny as I say, and the rest of the film suffers in comparison to the Scrat scenes. He may have a point, and de gustibus non disputandum.