Feb. 18—A girl befriends a squirrel who happens to be a superhero in “Flora & Ulysses,” a madcap adventure with a fair amount of flair that is just fine for its target audience, although the over-7 crowd need not apply.
The spunky, spirited Matilda Lawler plays Flora, a comic book loving grade schooler whose parents’ recent split — mom (Alyson Hannigan) is a struggling romance novelist, dad (Ben Schwartz) is grinding it out at an office supplies store — has her wanting to reunite them.
It’s a task worthy of a superhero, whom she finds in a squirrel that she rescues from a runaway robot vacuum cleaner during an outdoor mishap. After breathing life back into the CGI critter, she adopts him as her own and gives him a name: Morton. Just kidding, it’s Ulysses. (Of course it’s Ulysses, it’s right there in the title, guys. Try and keep up!)
Flora and Ulysses get in all the kinds of hijinks one would expect from a girl and her squirrel in a Disney movie: the squirrel trashes bedrooms, living rooms, diners, anywhere he goes, because everyone in Disneyland loves to see a big ol’ mess made on screen.
Danny Pudi dials into just the right wave of silly energy as an animal control officer, who fancies himself the Terminator but can barely harm a termite. Armed with tranquilizer darts, he tracks Ulysses and tries to take him down, which leads to, what else, chase scenes involving squirrels.
If you thought “Flora & Ulysses” is not the kind of place where Bon Iver’s “Re: Stacks” might end up, well, you’d be wrong, which is just one of the pleasant surprises in this wholesome, harmless kids movie. It might not make you believe in the superpowers of squirrels, but for a quirky time-passer, you could do a lot worse.
‘Flora & Ulysses’
Rated PG: for some mild action and thematic elements
Running time: 90 minutes