Veggie Tales - 'Twas the Night Before Easter as reviewed in The Phantom TollboothA tip of the veggie basket to reality TV and much, much more.

Veggie Tales 'Twas the Night Before Easter (DVD)
48 minutes
Big Idea

Bob and Larry celebrate Easter with an egg hunt that Larry dominates. Since it has been almost twenty years(!) since Veggie Tales began, the letter from a viewer has been replaced by a video message asking about the point of Easter, beyond candy and gifts. Off we go to Crisper County...

Reporter Marlee Meade (Petunia Rhubarb) has grown weary of being an in-the-field reporter in her tiny locale, and dreams of returning to the theater. Coincidentally, a local theater, vacant for fifteen years, is about to be torn down to make room for a playground for homeless children. Marlee quits her job, buys the theater, and begins to promote her Easter musical, "Up With Bunnies."

The audition process is somewhat painful to the judges, whose comments bear a strong resemblance to that of American Idol. They fill out their supporting cast, but still need a lead. In another coincidence, local hero and winner of "America's Got British Judges," Cassie Cassava (Melinda Doolittle) is coming home for Easter. Marlee starts to scheme, as does Pastor Irwin (Bob the Tomato), about using Cassava to draw crowd to the production and the church service, respectably.

The production grows larger, centered around a mechanical bunny constructed by Howard (Mr. Lunt), and Marlee coerces Cassie into singing by posing as legal counsel from the reality show. Cassie performs, the robot malfunctions, and they literally bring down the house. This leaves Marlee without a place to stay, and she walks to the homeless shelter. Lessons will be learned about style versus substance, and about drawing people in by serving them.

With tips of the hat to reality television, the movie Speed, gospel choirs, and Warner Brothers cartoons, this story has enough for children and adults to keep it lively. Doolittle shines in her singing role, and the "Hooperena" (Silly Song) is good for a few chuckles.