Cockburn Gazette - - AT THE MOVIES -

HAV­ING trou­ble getting your chil­dren to eat their ve­g­ies?

Peter Rab­bit might just be the most ef­fec­tive way to get them to eat health­ier since the two fruit five veg cam­paign.

When cranky old Mr McGre­gor (Sam Neill) built his cot­tage in the coun­try­side of Eng­land, he cut into the nat­u­ral habi­tat of lo­cal wildlife, in­clud­ing the mis­chievous, re­bel­lious and or­phaned Peter Rab­bit (James Cor­den), and tried to keep them out.

Peter and his mates try tire­lessly to take ve­g­ies from his patch but one par­tic­u­lar con­fronta­tion ends with Mr McGre­gor dy­ing of a heart at­tack.

The bat­tle for fresh pro­duce con­tin­ues when lon­glost rel­a­tive and hoity toity London re­tailer Thomas (Domh­nall Gleeson) in­her­its the prop­erty and moves in, spark­ing a courtship with friendly neigh­bour and an­i­mal ally Bea (Rose Byrne).

There are un­doubt­edly some mixed mes­sages

go­ing on in this big-screen adap­ta­tion of the beloved chil­dren’s books writ­ten by Beatrix Pot­ter.

Peter and his friends tres­pass and steal and it is played for laughs, but one prank goes too far when Peter dan­ger­ously force­feeds an al­ler­gen to Thomas in an act of one-up­man­ship.

This should have been scrapped, with so many chil­dren fac­ing life-threat­en­ing al­ler­gies.

It does not de­tract from the film be­ing Padding­ton lev­els of de­light­ful (mi­nus the so­cial and po­lit­i­cal sub­text), with the in­fec­tiously adorable furry char­ac­ters, not only in their de­sign but per­son­al­i­ties, elic­it­ing some real laugh-out-loud mo­ments.

The rooster is a high­light.

The hu­mans are an equal match: Neill and Gleeson are de­light­fully over the top and Byrne oozes charm so ef­fort­lessly.

There is ul­ti­mately the strong pos­i­tive mes­sage about eat­ing healthily; how of­ten do we see movies where the char­ac­ters go to crazy lengths to eat their ve­g­ies? Peter Rab­bit could be a bless­ing to par­ents in this de­part­ment.

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