No. 8 - "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs"
Box office gross: $196,573,705
In New York State, the minimum age to obtain a driver's license is 16, but "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" makes an argument for lowering that age to 5. That way, parents wouldn't have to chaperone their children to this treacly and barely amusing animated 3-D movie.
The third installment in 20th Century Fox's popular franchise reassembles the familiar crew: husband-and-wife mammoths Manny and Ellie ( Ray Romano and Queen Latifah), the sibilant sloth Sid ( John Leguizamo), a sabre-tooth tiger oddly named Diego ( Denis Leary) and the antic possums Crash and Eddie (Seann William Scott and Josh Peck). It also introduces some much-needed new blood, but more on that later.
The skimpy plot centers on Sid, who falls through a patch of ice and discovers three dinosaur eggs. Jealous that Manny and Ellie are expecting, Sid becomes foster parent to three cloyingly adorable dino-babies. But soon momzilla comes to claim them and takes Sid with her, revealing an underground world populated by creatures that even the endangered "Ice Age" gang thought were extinct.
The filmmakers play to their young demographic mercilessly, with simple sight gags and cutesy baby moments. The occasional nods to adults - a Lou Rawls classic that plays during love scenes, and a riff on the Gilbert O'Sullivan nugget "Alone Again (Naturally)" - feel halfhearted.
Thank goodness, then, for Buck (Simon Pegg), a crazed weasel whose monomaniacal hunt for a massive T. rex recalls Melville's Ahab. With his eye patch and slightly salty one-liners, Buck gets nearly every laugh here.
The Pixar folks, not to mention the makers of "Sesame Street," have been entertaining kids and adults for years. It's not easy, but it shouldn't be too much to ask.
PLOT The usual gang of animals discovers an underground dinosaur world.
CAST Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Queen Latifah, Simon Pegg
PLAYING AT Area theaters
BOTTOM LINE Panders to kids while forgetting the adults sitting next to them.
RATING PG (mildly crude humor, some scary moments)