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"Paddington": A Little Bear Tumbles Into the Uncanny Valley, Ends Up in London 

Wednesday, Jan 14 2015
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Paul King's Paddington is a very British movie, and that's mostly good, though it briefly succumbs to the sort of lazy humor that derailed the equally Anglo Boxtrolls. Paddington (Ben Whishaw) is a young bear in "darkest" Peru who, thanks to a British geographer discovering his sentient family decades prior, speaks the Queen's English and is obsessed with orange marmalade. When their jungle home is destroyed, Paddington's aunt (Imelda Staunton) sends him to London, where he's taken in by open-hearted Mrs. Brown (the great Sally Hawkins), her fearful husband (Hugh Bonneville), and their nondescript children, unaware that an evil taxidermist (Nicole Kidman) intends to capture and stuff Paddington. The mostly pleasant Paddington functions as a metaphor for the immigrant experience; Londoners don't react to this talking bear with "How can that be?" but instead regard him as another foreigner to be ignored. And then there's the scene in which Bonneville dresses as a maid to infiltrate an archives, which, ugh. It actually has a mild plot function, and it's not quite as blatantly transphobic as the hateful "Miss Frou Frou" subplot in The Boxtrolls, but seriously, British family filmmakers? Stop doing that. And if you simply have to go there (PROTIP: You don't), leave out the prison-rape jokes.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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