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Gnomeo and Juliet 

Yes, it's Romeo and Juliet, starring garden gnomes

click to enlarge 06_gnomeo.jpg

That said, it's cute without being goopy, amusing without being snarky and even manages to finesse the admittedly happier ending. This time out, our warring families are gnomes in the gardens of feuding neighbors. Handsome Gnomeo (voiced by James McAvoy) falls for plucky Juliet (Emily Blunt), even as around them rage battles over lawnmowers, flowers and fountains. The small setting helps keep the story grounded (sorry!), and lets director Kelly Asbury have fun with all the various statuary of the over-embellished backyard. But this is no Toy Story. Despite its lofty antecedents, this is a small story, with stock characters. But it was engaging enough to keep the kiddies in their seats, and the digital animation is bright and lively. The film screens in 3-D in select theaters, but looks just fine in 2-D. Starts Fri., Feb. 11.

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