Fairy tales have always had the good sense to know when to call it quits. Ending their stories with 'and they lived happily ever after' meant they didn't have to return to those same characters when the magic had gone and life in the palace (or the forest) had been reduced to domestic drudgery. We could pretend that all those involved did indeed live happy and fulfilling lives.
Film producers don't believe in ending on the perfect note. They much prefer to flog a dead horse and squeeze blood from a stone. That's why we have the wholly unnecessary sequel Hoodwinked Too! Hood Vs Evil.
Even before its release in 2005, the first two Shrek films had performed such an excellent job of skewering and fracturing our beloved childhood fairy tales that the first Hoodwinked film didn't have much left to work with. Its somewhat clever Rashomon-style first two acts (which gave reviewers an excuse to make Kurosawa references) were as original as it got.
But there's no such pretense at wit or cleverness with this second outing: Hoodwinked Too! is nothing more than a wall of noise and aimless silliness. I had thought the recent release Hop would prove to be the worst kids/family film of 2011; I spoke too soon.
Most of the original voice cast – Glenn Close as Granny, Patrick Warburton as Wolf, David Ogden Stiers as Nicky Flippers – are back for the sequel, but not Anne Hathaway (replaced by Hayden Panettiere). Hathaway originally voiced Red Riding Hood and I'm guessing she either didn't feel like pulling double voice duties after her work on Rio or, more likely, read the screenplay for Hood v Evil and baled, for compared to Hoodwinked Too!, Rio is a masterpiece of Pixar proportions.
Other new voices and characters include Joan Cusack as Verushka the Witch, Cheech and Chong as two-thirds of the Three Little Pigs, and Bill Hader and Amy Poehler as Hansel and Gretel whose kidnapping at the start of the film sets the story – something about a stolen secret recipe for producing power-inducing baked goods – in motion.
The filmmakers – director Mike Disa, and Cory and Todd Edwards who co-wrote and directed Hoodwinked, and penned this sequel – could have spent a lot more time working on the ingredients for Hoodwinked Too!, mistakenly believing that the (as always unnecessary) 3D would cover a multitude of deficiencies. It doesn't. Hoodwinked Too! provides no happily ever anything for anyone.