Diego, the saber-tooth tiger in Ice Age is a not-so-rare breed of mammal. In fact, you might be able to find him on a “Miami Vice” rerun as a sexed-up Cuban trying to hawk crack-cocaine to a bunch of hookers. Diego (Denis Leary) answers to Soto (Goran Visnjic), an overlord tiger who egregiously spews his eye-for-an-eye conservatism as if auditioning for a part on Dubya’s Texas Frying Squad. Cro-Magnon man is killing the tigers and wearing their hides, which means baby Cro-Magnon becomes prime candidate for saber-tooth breakfast. Baby meets Sid the Sloth (a strung-out John Leguizamo) and Manfred the Monolith (Ray Romano) and it’s not long before Diego discovers the meaning of power in diversity. Ice Age is considerably less evocative than a Pixar wonderland though it’s a far walk from Shrek‘s glib, postmodern notion of the Middle Ages. The film is confident enough to use only the most apt, retro-rustic musical accoutrements (here, the Rusted Root anthem “Send Me On My Way”) while Leguizamo’s motor-mouth sloth packs more punch n’ bite than Eddie Murphy’s ass. For every one-liner of “über-tracker”-proportions there’s the smug saber-tooth comedy schtick that takes jabs at everything from gay adoption to smelly junk food. A hysterical running gag posits a prehistoric squirrel’s eternal struggle for the acorn. The ratty animal is a howler of a scene-stealer—its dogged perseverance in the face of repeated existential defeat is so powerfully and visually minimalist, he could easily have been a Chuck Jones creation. Ice Age may forcibly amend inter-special relationships though its cute-quotient is impossible to resist.
- Carlos Saldanha, Chris Wedge
- Peter Ackerman, Michael Berg, Michael J. Wilson
- Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Goran Visnjic, Jack Black, Tara Strong, Cedric the Entertainer, Stephen Root, Diedrich Bader, Alan Tudyk
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