** and 1/2 out of ****
Mr. Peabody & Sherman originated as "Peabody's Improbable History," a segment created by Ted Key as part of late-1950's/early-1960's Jay Ward animated television shows "Rocky and His Friends" and "The Bullwinkle Show." The animation of the show was crude, but the intelligent humor in the writing made up for it. Now, we have a souped up 3D computer animated remodel.
Peabody is an intellectual Beagle (voiced by the ubiquitous Ty Burrell) who decides to adopt a human boy, Sherman (voiced by Max Charles). By using a time machine called the WABAC, Peabody teaches Sherman about history first hand. At school, Sherman corrects another student, a girl named Penny (Ariel Winter), about an event from history. Penny retaliated by bullying Sherman. To cool the situation, Peabody invited Penny and her parents over for dinner. The evening goes fine until Sherman shows Penny the WABAC and the little girl jumps back in time. Now, Peabody must go through history to find Penny and bring her home.
The film is at its best when it goes for verbal exchanges, many of which are witty puns. It's at its worst, however, when it goes for loud, time traveling action, which, unfortunately consumes the film's second half. And there are a few too many poop jokes in there as well.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is amiable enough entertainment, but did it have to end up so frantic and loud?