Mike Disa’s entertaining Postman Pat: The Movie is based on a long-running stop-motion BBC children’s series which is hugely popular in the U.K. but has never quite made a dent in America, possibly because it’s deeply British.
That Britishness hasn’t been toned down for the domestic release of the feature film, including borderline ethnic jokes about the Irish and Scottish, and that’s a good thing.
The setup is fairly standard: When Pat (Stephen Mangan) fails to receive the bonus he was going to use to take wife Sara (Susan Duerden) on an Italian vacation, he auditions for a Britain’s Got Talent–type show, unexpectedly becoming a national celebrity and Losing Sight of the Things That Really Matter.
Meanwhile, an evil postal executive (Peter Woodward) creates robotic doubles of Pat, and a rival talent agent (Doctor Who‘s David Tennant, letting his full Scottish burr fly) tries to sabotage Pat’s ascent. The animation doesn’t attempt to recreate the Rankin/Bass–style texture of the original show, instead using a simple CGI which adequately services the surprisingly sharp and witty script.
Postman Pat: The Movie is one of the best family films to come down the pike this year, and not just because this year has also brought us The Nut Job and Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return.