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Midvale Journal

Dan's Review: "Norm of the North" is a new kind of awful

Jan 15, 2016 11:17AM ● By Dan Metcalf

Norm of the North - © 2015 – Lionsgate

Norm of the North (Lionsgate)

Rated PG for mild rude humor and action.

Starring (voices of) Rob Schneider, Heather Graham, Ken Jeong, Colm Meaney, Loretta Devine, Maya Kay, Gabriel Iglesias, Michael McElhatton, Bill Nighy, Salome Jens.

Written by Daniel R. Altiere, Steven M. Altiere and Malcolm T. Goldman.

Directed by Trevor Wall.



One of the “joys” (I’m using sarcasm quotes) of being the parent of girls (I have three of them) is dealing with the toy/video marketing schemes that permeate their culture. For instance, the folks at Mattel were genius enough to know that if you make Barbie into a computer-generated cartoon, you could sell more dolls by churning out countless feature-length “Barbie” movies directly to video. These “movies” (again, sarcasm) contain low-quality scripts, bland music, and low-quality animation. What does this have to do with Norm of the North, out in theaters this weekend?  I will explain later.

Norm (voiced by Rob Schneider, who has finally proven that he can find work without the help of Adam Sandler) is an arctic polar bear who can’t hunt, but for some reason can speak human English. When an evil developer named Mr. Greene (Ken Jeong) decides to put condos in the arctic, Norm decides to go to New York and to use his gift of communicating with humans to convince them that arctic land development will ruin his home. When he gets to the Big Apple, Norm discovers that his grandfather (Colm Meaney) who was thought lost, is imprisoned there by Greene, having tried to stop the development before. With the help of a few lemmings, Norm convinces Greene’s marketing director Vera (Heather Graham) and her daughter Olympia (Maya Kay) that the condos are a bad idea. Norm and his grandfather must stop a shipment of condos from arriving in the arctic to kill Greene’s evil business deal.

Now, back to Barbie.

Norm of the North is a new kind of terrible. It’s so bad that the only chuckle-worthy moments (for kids) involve farting and peeing. One joke about homosexuality was bad enough to sense a collective groan among all adults in the screening. 

The script and story seem to have been written on a napkin during a lunch break, lacking clarity, humor or structure – while swinging and missing at global warming.

The animation is lazy enough to rival most Barbie movies, making most of them seem like Citizen Kane in comparison.

Norm of the North was indeed planned as a direct-to-video release. It should have stayed that way, or perhaps never left the lunch napkin.

Norm of the North Trailer