Mr Peabody & Sherman (3D), film review: 'An engagingly witty, if bizarre affair'

(U) Rob Minkoff, 92 mins Featuring voices of: Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Allison Janney, Ariel Winter, Stephen Colbert
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DreamWorks' latest animated feature is an engagingly witty, if bizarre affair about a hyper-intelligent dog, Mr Peabody, and the young boy, Sherman, he adopts. When Sherman bites a girl in class, the formidable social worker Miss Grunion threatens to take him into care.

The set-up, in which Mr Peabody meets the parents of the assaulted girl, is reminiscent of Roman Polanski's Carnage. However, this is children's fare, not a psycho-drama about bickering adults. The film-makers, like Mr Peabody, are determined to educate as well as entertain.

The plot involves large amounts of time travel in which Sherman learns about everything from the French Revolution to the fall of Troy, from Egyptian marital rites to Leonardo da Vinci's painting technique and the dubious personal hygiene of Greek warriors. The 3D is used inventively as Mr Sherman tries to mend the space-time continuum.

The music, including John Lennon's "Beautiful Boy", is well-chosen, and the film-makers convey Mr Peabody's dogged devotion to his adopted son without lapsing too far into sentimentality.