Rating: PG, for some mild action and brief rude humor.
Inspired by the cartoon series from those old Rocky & Bullwinkle episodes, this 3-D update finds Mr. Peabody (voiced by Ty Burrell), the world’s smartest dog, and his genius boy, Sherman (Max Charles), enjoying various time-travel adventures. It is way better than that description makes it sound, though, or that the commercials might suggest. This animated action comedy is lively, clever, smart and frequently funny — even with Mr. Peabody’s trademark, groan-worthy puns. It’s totally suitable for kids of all ages, although a lot of the humor, historical details and pop-culture references clearly were intended for the adults in the audience. And there’s even a lesson or two to be learned here, albeit in a Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure kind of way. There is exactly one fart joke, but the set-up for it actually makes it work. Stephen Colbert, Leslie Mann, Ariel Winter, Stanley Tucci and Patrick Warburton are among the strong voice cast.