The Ant Bully (U) <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

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The Independent Culture

This animated comedy revisits terrain already crawled over by Antz and A Bug's Life, but if you don't mind the occasional flash of déjà vu it makes for a perfectly decent entertainment. Ten-year-old Lucas is bullied because he's short, and takes his resentment out on the one target smaller than him, kicking over anthills and flooding them with the garden hose. Then the ant wizard, played with eerie rightness by Nicolas Cage, uses a magic potion to shrink the kid down to the size of... an ant. Writer-director John A Davis conjures a lyrical sort of freakishness in certain set pieces, including ants hang-gliding on rose petals and Lucas's darkest hour in which he's swallowed by a frog. Paul Giamatti has fun voicing a sleazy bug exterminator, known to the fearful ants as "Cloud Breather". It ends in a moral lesson about teamwork, but on the way offers some gentle amusements.