Review: 'Mr. Peabody & Sherman', Starring Ty Burrell and Max Charles

Talking dogs have been a staple of Hollywood for years. Most of these dogs usually show up in awful movies that try to make a live-action dog film endearing. Guess what? They're usually not. So it's nice to know that the movie uses the talking dog aspect to its humorous advantage and not to be a pet who's only role is to be man's best friend and all. After all, if the dog is going to speak, he might as well be intelligent. Mr. Peabody & Sherman is lighthearted, funny, and a fun adventure the entire family can enjoy. 

Mr. Peabody (voice of Ty Burrell) is nothing short of a genius.... and a dog. Having been semi-shunned and never adopted when he was a genius puppy, Mr. Peabody put in all his work and energy into learning, creating, and being useful to society. He's an adviser to
heads of government, knows how to play every instrument imaginable, can speak a plethora of different languages, and is pretty much the smartest dog. Ever. 

His biggest invention comes after he finds and adopts Sherman (voice of Max Charles), to which the judge declares that "if a boy can adopt a dog then a dog can adopt a boy!" The invention, a time machine Mr. Peabody calls the WABAC, the two take trips to the past for historical learning and for bonding time. Though they make sure never to travel back to a time in which they exist for fear of messing with the space-time continuum. A lot of Back to the Future references might come to mind when hearing that terminology, but this film has its own flair when it comes to time travel. 

Things get a bit complicated, however, when Penny (voice of Ariel Winter) bullies Sherman at school because he unintentionally shows her up in class. Child Protection Services gets involved and an annoying social worker Ms. Grunion (voice of Allison Janney) who is the main antagonist of the film. Sherman and Penny use th WABAC and through a series of events warm the timeline. And all throughout this crazy adventure, Mr. Peabody has to face the challenges of being a parent, a dog, and coming to terms with both. 

The film, based on the old Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons, is full of warm-hearted, fun adventures that maintain its light humor and bad (in a good way) puns and jokes throughout. Mr. Peabody will remind several people of the too-smart-for-his-own-good Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory, though Peabody's not as much of an annoying know-it-all. 

It balances the adventure and humor, and is still able to infuse a lesson to kids to be proud of who they are no matter what they are and other typical cliches. Because underneath the fluffy layering of the film, there's still a lesson to be learned. And the film succeeds in its general attempt to teach its lead characters about who they are, while still being highly entertaining to its audience. Some of the puns are even so bad they're chuckle-worthy. 

The film gets creative with its usage of history, including historical figures like King Tut of Ancient Egypt, Agamemnon, George Washington, Marie Antoinette, Leonardo da Vinci, and Mona Lisa herself, just to name a few. Is it historically accurate? No. But it does make
it a lot more fun and endearing way to learn for those kids who have trouble finding history at all interesting. 

The voice cast is spot on, the only really grating character in the film being Penny, the mean girl. She's cruel and snooty and there's a very privileged and spoiled atmosphere surrounding her attitude that make her a little aggravating until the last twenty minutes or so. However, regardless of this, it doesn't deter from the overall enjoyment of the film for both kids and their parents, and anyone else looking for a family-friendly bit of adventurous fun at the movies.