The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature is an animated movie in which Surly (voice of Will Arnett), a squirrel, leads a group of forest animals who have been living a life of luxury in a derelict nut shop. The animals have become lazy and fat, so Andie (Katherine Heigl) tries to make a difference by teaching the young squirrels to forage for their food. They’re reluctant to learn, however, because it’s so easy to get food in the nut shop. This all changes one day when the nut shop explodes and the animals have to learn how find food in the park.
Unfortunately for the animals, the Mayor of Oakton (Bobby Moynihan) decides to turn the park into an amusement park, mainly to please his spoiled daughter Heather (Isabella Moner). The animals are trapped by animal controllers and forced out of the park. The animals decide to fight for their park. Mayhem ensues when they attack the amusement park to win back their territory.
Here we outline any topics, issues and ideas in this movie that might upset children and adolescents, so that you can gauge whether it is appropriate for your child. For example, children and adolescents may react adversely to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, separation from a parent, animal cruelty or distress, children as victims, natural disasters and racism.
Conservation versus development
Here we identify any violence in this movie, and explain how and why it might impact on your child or adolescent. In general, movie violence can make children less sensitive to the use of violence in real life. Alternatively, they may become fearful about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world. In some contexts, it can also teach them to see violence as an acceptable means of conflict resolution.
The Nut Job 2 has a lot of violence and accidental harm, mostly done for laughs. For example:
- Surly is chased by kids and gets hit by a bicycle.
- Surly and his friend Buddy (Tom Kenny) try to steal food and get run over by a police car.
- Surly jumps off the back of a taxi and slams into a mailbox (a few times).
- A tractor runs over Surly and he hangs on to a fuel line, which he cuts with his teeth. The he gets electrocuted.
- A dog called Precious accidentally swallows one of the forest animals.
- Golfers chase the animals and hit at them with golf clubs.
- The animals fire ketchup and mustard at the Mayor and his guests in the amusement park.
- The nut shop explodes in flames.
- Heather has a catapult, which she frequently uses to shoot at Precious and Surly.
- An animal controller puts a stick of dynamite into Mole’s hole and blows him up into the sky.
- The Mayor drives his vehicle onto the footpath because he doesn’t want to wait in a queue. People have to scramble from the road, and a man is stuck to his windscreen. The Mayor wipes him away with the wipers. He also makes many cars crash.
- Mr Feng is a cute-looking but vicious mouse. He punches Surly and throws him against a wall.
- Heather plays violently with her dolls, making them fight each other.
- The Mayor fires a crossbow at Surly and Buddy.
- The animal controllers suck up the animals in large vacuums.
- Andie is hit by a dart and knocked out.
- Heather and an animal controller use a huge gun to fire darts at Precious and Frankie, and then Heather starts attacking them with a mallet.
- Heather gets shot with a dart.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, The Nut Job 2 has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:
- The Mayor is a large, scary-looking man who shouts and rages when he doesn’t get his own way. He also bullies and bribes people to get what he wants.
- Heather is just like her father, and even a little worse. She is an evil and scary character. She screams and stamps her feet when she doesn’t get her own way.
- The cute mice turn into vicious creatures.
- The animals are in constant peril, as they’re chased and attacked by men and machines.
- The animal controllers look scary in their protective clothing and large gas masks.
- There are lots of explosions, crashes and things being set on fire, including the nut shop where the squirrels live.
In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, The Nut Job 2 has some scenes that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example:
- Surly is caught in a trap.
- Heather makes her dog Frankie perform tricks. One trick involves pretending to fire a machine gun at him to make him dance.
- Surly and Buddy enter a dark alley, which Buddy is scared of. They see an evil-looking doll with staring eyes, one of which falls out. In the alley, they meet Mr Feng, a cute-looking but vicious mouse. They follow him into a den, where there’s an army of other mice just like him. The den is dark and lit by candles, and the mice are quite violent. Mr Feng says they have become ‘weapons of mass destruction’.
- Surly goes into the Mayor’s office and is scared by the animal head trophies on the wall.
- Buddy falls from a ledge to the ground and seems lifeless. Surly carries him home and he’s unconscious for quite some time.
- Surly tells how he met Buddy during a hurricane. The wind is blowing and Buddy is blown out of his tree. Surly saves him, then Buddy has to save Surly.
Some younger children in this age group might be scared by the scenes mentioned above.
Nothing of concern
The Nut Job 2 has some sexual references. For example, Frankie is attracted to Precious. His tongue hangs out and he starts to drool.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
The Nut Job 2 shows some use of substances. For example:
- The Mayor drinks champagne.
- Heather looks as if she’s ‘high’ after being hit with a dart.
Nudity and sexual activity
Nothing of concern
Nothing of concern
The Nut Job 2 has some coarse language, including name-calling.
Ideas to discuss with your children
The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature is an animated comedy with some quite dark humour. It’s also action packed but quite intense and scary for younger viewers. It isn’t recommended for children under seven years, but older children will probably enjoy it.
The main messages from this movie are that ‘individually we might be tiny but together we are giants’ and that nothing in life is free – we have to work to live.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include:
- teamwork and collaboration
- protection of the environment and animals.
You could also talk about Heather as an example of how not to behave.