The Bock’s Office: ‘Paddington’ a tale with lots of warm fuzzies | CraigDailyPress.com

The Bock’s Office: ‘Paddington’ a tale with lots of warm fuzzies

Mrs. Brown (Sally Hawkins) and Paddington Bear (voice of Ben Whishaw) visit with Mr. Gruber (Jim Broadbent) in "Paddington." The movie is an adaptation of the children's book series about a bear who journeys to London from South America and moves in with a British family.

Winnie the Pooh had his honey, but the star of "Paddington" is addicted to a different substance in his cinematic escapades. Even so, the bear of very little brains isn't the only one who can give us a sweet story.

Paddington Station has seen many faces throughout the years, and while most of them are human, a small bear (voice of Ben Whishaw) has found himself the newest traveler amid the hubbub of the London Underground after being transported from the jungles of darkest Peru in search of a new home.

When he meets the Brown family, and they're willing to take him in, it would appear he has a new place to hang his hat, though fussy patriarch Mr. Brown (Hugh Bonneville) is resolute that the new houseguest is only temporary. Mrs. Brown (Sally Hawkins) and children Jonathan and Judy (Samuel Joslin, Madeleine Harris) are much more welcoming to the ursine visitor, whom they name after the place where they found him.

The newly christened Paddington may be accident-prone and a shameless guzzler of marmalade, but he starts to grow on all within the Brown household in his quest for a new home, yet a local taxidermist (Nicole Kidman) takes interest in him for a wholly different reason.

In a part that originally was to be filled by Colin Firth, Whishaw provides a wholesome innocence to the beloved bear, bright and unflinchingly polite thanks to his upbringing by his Uncle Pastuzo and Aunt Lucy (Michael Gambon, Imelda Staunton), qualities one certainly would need when they have a knack for causing disasters without the slightest effort.

As his new caretakers, Bonneville and Hawkins are delightful as mismatched couple Henry and Mary, he a full-time stick-in-the-mud who memorizes insurance statistics for fun and she a free-spirited book illustrator who's always up for an adventure.

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Joslin and Harris work well as their typical kids, a rambunctious adolescent boy and an easily embarrassed teen girl, while Julie Walters is ideal as always as the Browns' kooky housekeeper, Mrs. Bird.

Peter Capaldi provides the requisite obnoxious nature as their nosy neighbor, Mr. Curry, but it's Kidman who's the real baddie — not her first time as a villain — as an ice-blooded museum worker who thinks the only sensible way to honor a rare beast is to capture it, kill it and get it stuffed while it's still warm.

Makes you rethink your favorite childhood teddy bear, doesn't it?

The long-running series of children's books by Michael Bond — who appears in a cameo — makes a transition to the big screen in one of the best live-action family movies in quite some time.

Besides the computer-animated title character looking paws down better than Yogi and Boo-Boo did several years ago, the basic, oft-performed story of a middle class family brought together by a talking animal — alternately an alien or something along those lines — never ceases to surprise in visual enhancements with humor that's silly enough for kids and smart enough for their parents.

If you can't laugh at Paddington's first 10 minutes in his new home — which includes cleaning his ears with toothbrushes, getting his head stuck in the toilet and turning the bathroom into an aquarium — or his name in bear language — which only Chewbacca could pronounce without days of linguistic practice — you may just be deserving of one of his trademark hard stares.

The awkward feeling will be punishment enough.

"Paddington" is just what a quality family film should be — clever, cute and something all ages can appreciate at once. An added benefit is all the marmalade you can handle, but you'll forgive the stickiness.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @TheBocksOffice.

If you go

“Paddington,” rated PG

Rating: 3 out of 4 stars

Running time: 95 minutes

Starring: Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Nicole Kidman and the voice of Ben Whishaw.

Now playing at Wildhorse Stadium Cinemas.

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