Dreamworks delve into the Rocky and Bullwinkle universe with Mr Peabody and Mr Sherman, a lighthearted romp for kids about a time-travelling dog (Mr Peabody) and his adopted son Sherman. One look at the character designs tells you that the overall intent is to be lovable, and while Peabody and Sherman’s adventures are easy to watch, they lack the post-modern gusto of The Lego Movie.
Peabody may be a simple canine, but he’s also a genius, and his mastery of science and particularly time travel are established early on. The intricacies of parenting are a different matter, and Sherman has abandonment issues when he starts school. Sherman breaks his father’s golden rules by showing off their time machine to pretty schoolmate Penny, and a chase through history results taking in Troy, ancient Rome, the American revolution and more.
One adult double entendre aside, Mr Peabody and Sherman is a Bill and Ted-style romp through the history books, with enough references to stop adults getting bored and plenty of slapstick for kids. Penny, however, is an unlikable character, and her early aggression to Sherman is unjustified as she rapidly becomes a member of the time-travelling team. Her presence is a bum-note in an otherwise streamlined adventure; while not as good as The Croods or How To Train Your Dragon, Mr Peabody and Sherman is decent enough fare to keep the little-ones amused.