Is it worth hopping along to the cinema to see Peter Rabbit in movie sequel?

Inside Royston Picture Palace

Royston Picture Palace has reopened and will be showing Peter Rabbit 2 later in June. - Credit: Royston Picture Palace

With cinemas open again following the easing of lockdown restrictions, Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway has finally been released.

You can see the movie sequel at Saffron Screen this week and at Royston Picture Palace at the end of the month.

Is it worth hopping along to the cinema to see it? Read film critic Paul Steward's review below.

Following the success of 2018’s Peter Rabbit, its inevitable sequel, delayed for over a year due to the coronavirus outbreak, has now arrived in UK cinemas.

Will Gluck returns to co-write and direct while James Corden once again lends his voice to the titular bunny.

Reprising their roles as Peter’s adoptive human parents, Thomas and Bea, are Domhnall Gleeson and Rose Byrne, who now married, are living the country life with their makeshift family of rabbits while celebrating the release of Bea’s acclaimed new book, based upon the exploits of Peter and his friends.

Despite his best efforts, Peter struggles to shake his rebellious reputation and feeling under appreciated, the mischievous bunny runs away during a family visit to the big city.

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Taken in by some of the city’s hardened urban wildlife, Peter begins to drift towards a life of crime.

Also featuring David Oyelowo as Bea’s smarmy literary agent and the voice talents of Margot Robbie, Lennie James and Elizabeth Debicki, the film is not short on star power.

However, this is not enough to save what is ultimately rather weak family fare.

The film makers' response to the original's mixed reviews is to make constant meta references to the criticism.

As well as jokes about James Corden’s annoying voice, we get Rose Byrne monologuing about concerns her book will be adapted into an unfaithful Hollywood blockbuster, simply for commercial gain.

These knowing nods are clearly intended for the adults in the audience but are eye roll inducing rather than funny. 

There are a handful of amusing moments for young fans to enjoy, an abseiling Moose and Gleeson’s attempt at hill rolling among them, but the slapstick humour that worked well first time out is not as prevalent here and the cut and paste plot is far too derivative to be in any way engaging.

The benchmark for this type of family film is the Paddington movies, which are universally funny, heartwarming adventures which adults and kids can enjoy together.

Here the humour is split between zany, kid-friendly action and knowing quips for the adults which take the self-referential humour way too far.

At best this is an excuse to organise a long overdue family trip to the cinema. At worst, it’s a desperately unfunny cash grab.

Peter Rabbit 2 is ultimately destined to make adults cringe and kids yawn.