The sad target of a neighborhood bully, ten-year-old Lucas (Tyler) vents his frustrations by cruelly spraying an anthill with his water gun. Determined to solve “the human problem” once and for all, the resident wizard ant (Cage) invents a potion that cuts the kid down to bug size, whereupon he’s whisked away to stand trial for his “crimes against the colony.” Told he won’t be allowed to return home until he somehow becomes an ant, Lucas finds himself on a series of insect-sized adventures, including some time in ant boot camp and a brief stint in the belly of a frog. Fortunately the boy’s highly evolved brain makes him a big hit in the ant world, particularly after he scores a victory against a menacing swarm of flies by lighting a firecracker with a piece of glass.
Coming less than a decade after Antz and A Bug’s Life,The Ant Bully inevitably feels a bit stale, but director Davis (Jimmy Neutron) has some fun with the Lilliputian elements of the story (the dramatic firecracker explosion is rendered from human scale as a tiny wisp of smoke), only going seriously off track during a few scenes with Lily Tomlin as a grandmother obsessed with alien abductions. (Opens Fri; Click here for venues.) — Joshua Land