Despite ample proof to the contrary, Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil was not written by the punaholic Carrie Bradshaw. A sequel to a movie few saw and even fewer cared about, and whose escape from straight-to-video oblivion can only have been permitted by the money-to-burn Weinstein Company’s recent victory lap at the Academy Awards, this humorless, flat-even-in-3D toon is most notable for the vocal talent that chose not to reprise their roles from the original, among them failed Oscar host Anne Hathaway.
Hayden Panettiere now voices the Ellen Page-lite post-feminist Red, who leaves her training at the Sister Hood, a Food Networked vision of Pai Mei’s temple from Kill Bill: Vol. 2, when she learns that her granny (Glenn Close, slumming) has been kidnapped by Verushka the Witch (Joan Cusack, lobotomized) along with chublards—and possible up-to-no-gooders—Hansel and Gretel (Bill Hader and Amy Poehler, both wasted). Joining forces again with the Happily Ever After (HEA) agency, Red fights her way through a series of unbearably humorless and visually inert confrontations on her way to reaching Granny and the pre-Stay Puft—not to mention prediabetic—Hansel and Gretel on an impossibly high floor of what is pretty much the Ghostbusters building, all while trying to smooth out her banally contentious relationship with the Big Bad Wolf (Patrick Warburton).
The film’s humor is stuptefyingly unfunny, with Martin Short, replacing Jim Belushi, mincing up a pathetic storm as the Woodsman and Cheech and Chong, as two of the Three Little Hench Pigs, delivering a racist shtick that rests almost entirely on regurgitating and stringing together potent quotables from the White Guys Playing Latinos or Talking Like Them canon (“Hasta la vista baby” immediately follows “Say hello to my little friend”). As in the first film, the shoestring animation suggests a lame, epic-length video-game cutscene, but at least there was something to Hoodwinked’s fairy-tale duplicity. Hood vs. Evil simply exists at face value and thus continually runs on empty.