Editor's note: This review first ran in the Times on Dec. 16 when "Hoodwinked" opened for a one-week engagement. The movie opened Friday in wide release.
"Hoodwinked" is an irreverent, hard-edged retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" -- a high-energy, imaginative entertainment aimed at younger audiences. Replete with the violence typical of vintage cartoons, it opens in time-honored fashion with Little Red Riding Hood, known as Red (voice of Anne Hathaway), arriving at her grandmother's quaint cottage in the forest only to find the Wolf (Patrick Warburton) disguised as Granny (Glenn Close), who is tied up in a closet. A ruckus ensues, and an array of cops, led by Chief Grizzly (Xzibit) descends upon the cottage, ready to arrest the Woodsman (Jim Belushi) for assaulting the Wolf, even if he is impersonating Granny.
Suave detective Nicky Flippers (David Ogden Stiers), a frog reminding one of Truman Capote in "Murder by Death," takes over, and a classic fairy tale becomes a film in which everyone offers a version of what's going on. Flippers' shrewd deductions usher in a slew of razzle-dazzle action sequences involving no small amount of wrongdoing and shady antics. Director Cory Edwards and colleagues Tony Leech and Todd Edwards even work in musical numbers. "Hoodwinked" hasn't much time for soul or sentiment, but it is certainly amusingly smart and sassy.