SUMMARY: A determined squirrel goes to excessive lengths in the attempt to open a seemingly impenetrable coconut.
WHY IT’S HERE: Chuck Jones’s ‘Much Ado About Nutting’ is a calculated, slow-paced cartoon which ultimately suffers from a weak and overly bizarre punch line. Nevertheless, Jones’s genius is amply displayed in the lead-up to this disappointing finale. The squirrel is rendered in a more realistic style than the anthropomorphised creatures that populate most cartoons and the story is played out sans dialogue. Jones uses this to his advantage, highlighting the squirrel’s growing frustration and obsession for laughs. Indeed, ‘Much Ado About Nutting’ is at its funniest and most impressive between the punchlines. For instance, the gag at the end of the Empire State sequence is amusing enough but the lead up to it, in which we watch the squirrel agonisingly push the coconut up the thousands of stairs is extraordinarily attractive and tinged with both a sense of suspense and not a little inevitability. ‘Much Ado About Nutting’ does not quite scale the heights of the truly classic Warner one-shots but it is constantly engaging and occasionally wonderful.