‘Flushed Away’ – Aardman Animation’s underground adventure on Peacock

Flushed Away (2006), the first computer animated film from Britain’s Aardman Animation (of Wallace and Gromit fame), is a lively, spirited adventure about a domesticated mouse on an odyssey through the London sewers

Hugh Jackman voices the pampered pet mouse Roderick as a cultured fop, decked out in a doll-sized tuxedo (no doubt pilfered from an unsuspecting action figure). His pose of sophisticated cool and romantic charm slips into simpering panic when he’s ejected from his safe cage and shoots the porcelain whirlpool down through the sewers and into a miniature subterranean London reconstructed from the urban flotsam and jetsam.

Yes, the toilet humor is literal but apart from the unfortunate title and a predilection for slapstick blows to the groin, this witty family film avoids the usual bodily function references that pass for humor. Instead it delivers a high-speed adventure overflowing with antic action and a tongue-in-cheek attitude.

With his reluctant partner Rita (Kate Winslet), a spunky sewer rat with the soul of an high-seas adventuress, Roderick rides the rapids back to the surface while pursued by a croaking kingpin of a toad crime lord (Ian McKellen, sending up every smirking supervillain he’s ever played), his cockney rat henchmen, and a cocky French toad-y in a trench coat (Jean Reno, sending up every French cliché manageable in 80 minutes).

Flushed Away may lack the heft of Pixar’s instant classics, but like the Looney Tunes cartoons of old, it’s filled to overflowing with mischievous gags for kid and adults alike, tickling the periphery of the story and crammed into every frame with playful abandon. It gives potty humor a good name.

David Bowers and Sam Fell direct from an original screenplay co-written by British comedy veterans Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais. The voice cast also features Bill Nighy, Andy Serkis, Shane Richie, and David Suchet.

It was nominated for a BAFTA and won five Annie Awards, given out by the Los Angeles branch of the International Animated Film Association.

Rated PG

Also on Blu-ray and DVD and on SVOD through Amazon Video, iTunes, GooglePlay, Vudu and/or other services. Availability may vary by service.
Flushed Away [Blu-ray]
Flushed Away [DVD]

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The Blu-ray and DVD special editions feature filmmaker commentary, featurettes, and interactive supplements.


Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. He writes the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website, and his work appears at RogerEbert.com, Turner Classic Movies online, The Film Noir Foundation, and Parallax View.

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