Movie Review: Paddington is a sweet, playful take on a children’s classic

In a bid for this year’s Lord-Miller Prize, writer-director Paul King (The Mighty Boosh) stuffs Paddington—his ’90s-style, mostly live-action adaptation of Michael Bond’s children’s book series—with gags, visual puns, and imaginative framing devices, all the while preserving a sense of easygoing sweetness. A dollhouse transforms into a cutaway set; a tree mural blooms with flowers or loses its leaves depending on a family’s mood; a chase involving the titular ursid syncs up with a GPS’ instruction to “bear left” and a classroom studying The Winter’s Tale. All the while, an omniscient calypso band provides commentary in song, often huddled under awnings to protect their instruments from the London rain.

There are Rube Goldberg slapstick sequences (co-writer Hamish McColl has written a couple of Rowan Atkinson movies, and it shows) and jokes about everything from Tube signs to taxis. It’s visually busy, but …

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