We now arrive at the 2006 DreamWorks Animation film, Over the Hedge. Based on the comic strip of the same name, this film is about a raccoon named RJ, voiced by Bruce Willis, who tricks a bunch of forest animals led by the “reptile”, Verne, voiced by the late Garry Shandling, into stealing food to pay bay an angry bear, Vincent, voiced by Nick Nolte.

As the years have gone by, I’ve noticed that many people put this one further down on their list of their favorite DreamWorks Animation films, but I personally like it. I’ll admit that I find it a bit duller than I remember, but it’s still an interesting, pleasing-enough adventure to me.

Most of the characters are pretty memorable, so I chose Janis as my forgotten/minor character. Who is she? Well, in one scene, RJ devises a plan with the energetic, naive squirrel, Hammy, voiced by Steve Carell, involving him pretending to be a rabid squirrel to steal cookies from two girl scouts.

“I am a crazy, rabid squirrel!”

This plan backfires though when the girl scouts get scared and try to beat Hammy (as well as Verne, who has since joined in to save Hammy). They then go screaming to one of their moms, Janis, explaining what has happened. Janis calms down the girls by telling them to go inside, have a cookie, and turn on the TV. This does seem to calm the girls down, but it piques the interest of Gladys, voiced by Allison Janney, who happens to be walking nearby. Gladys is the president of the Home Owners Association and after hearing the story from Janis, she starts getting the idea that there may be on the verge of an animal “pandemic” in the neighborhood.

“Rabid animals bring down property values, Janis!”

Janis feels that Gladys is overreacting, but the idea has been planted in Gladys’ head. After future “attacks” from the animals, Gladys calls an exterminator, Dwayne La Fontant, voiced by Thomas Haden Church, to get rid of them.

So one can argue that if Janis hadn’t told Gladys about the “attack” on the girl scouts, maybe she would have not noticed the animals as much and not called the exterminator later on, which would have made for a totally different film. So, here’s to Janis for (somewhat) keeping the plot going!

“Wait, I have a line in this movie?”

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