tek's rating: ¾

Surf's Up (PG)
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This came out in 2007, but I didn't see it until 2020. I wasn't ever really planning on watching it, but I finally did because it came bundled with two other movies I wanted to see. And I liked it more than I expected to.

The first thing I need to say is that I was surprised to discover that the whole thing is done in a mockumentary style. A film crew (whom we never actually see) is following a penguin from Antarctica named Cody Maverick (Shia LaBeouf), who has been obsessed with surfing ever since he met a surfing champion penguin called "the Big Z" when he was a little kid. But most of the movie takes place when Cody is 17, and he goes to a tropical island called Pen-Gu, which used to be Z's home. He wants to enter the 10th annual Big Z Memorial surfing contest, which has been held ever since Z died during a surfing contest, which was won by another penguin named Tank Evans (Diedrich Bader), who has also won the past nine Big Z Memorial contests, and is the favorite to win this year's contest. (But he's a totally self-obsessed jerk.)

Cody becomes friends with another competitor, a chicken named Chicken Joe (Jon Heder), who is very mellow and sort of like what I'd call a beach bum/hippie, or something. He's from Sheboygan, Wisconsin. And Cody also develops an instant crush on a lifeguard named Lani (Zooey Deschanel), who is the niece of a washed up penguin called the Geek (Jeff Bridges), who never leaves his hut in the jungle, so Lani takes care of him. There's eventually a plot twist concerning the Geek which I totally saw coming, but it's still cool, and I won't spoil it. But that means I can't really say any more about the movie's plot.

Anyway... it's a fairly amusing movie. Some of the humor is surprisingly dark, even if it's played light. And of course when the contest finally happens near the end of the movie, that's pretty exciting. And there's a decent lesson about doing something for the joy of it rather than for the sake of competition. And I don't really know what else to tell you.

Oh yeah, there was a direct to video sequel in 2017, but I probably won't ever see that.

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