Surly Squirrel is banished from his home in Liberty Park due to his rouge and selfish personality being responsible for destroying the park's only food for winter. But when he stumbles upon a nut store run by a gang of bank robbers, Surly will not only have to pull the biggest heist of his life, but he must also come to realize what's far more valuable to protect and treasure then just another nutty feast.
The Story takes place in 1959, Oakton where in Liberty Park Surly introduces himself to the audience and his only friend Buddy, a loyal and humble rat who doesn't talk much. Meanwhile the park gathered around the old oak tree to provide themselves food while their leader Raccoon and his bird Cardinal overlook the gathering. When Mole, Raccoon's henchman, reveals that there maybe not enough food to go through the entire winter season the animals begin to panic, until Cardinal delivers news that a nut cart is nearby. Raccoon orders Andie, the loving mother hen of the park and Grayson, who is adored and loved as the park hero, to steal the nuts from the cart as well as be wary of Surly.
Surly is about to make his move with help from Buddy when he sees the other squirrels and tells Buddy to get into the pail, which he uses to lower Buddy down but when Andie surprises him, he accidently lets go of the bucket which lands on top of the cart while the cart vendors, Fingers and Lucky are talking to a cop and a girl scout they just 'assaulted with nuts'. While the men are distracted, their pug Precious discovers Buddy and Surly.
Surly and Buddy manage to get the nut cart rolling and Andie steers it into the park but upon accidently lighting the gas inside the cart, with a flaming stick, Surly and the others end up on a wild ride before they all escape (save for Grayson) before the flaming cart crashes into the oak tree and explodes, popping all the nuts into popcorn. Raccoon is furious and, despite Andie's pleas for a fair trail, demands the animals vote Surly out of the park for good and they all agree.
Now on his own, Surly barely makes it through the first night but with help from Buddy he escapes a group of rat gangsters by using a pigeon but they crash onto the glass panel and just as Surly is wallowing in despair, he discovers that they had ran into a nut store window and both rat and squirrel celebrate before they try numerous times to get in and when they finally do they discover that Precious can be kept at bay with a dog whistle, which also hurts the ears of Knuckles, a human gangster who is new to King's gang.
With King set free from his last crime early due to 'good behavior', King reveals to his men, Knuckles, Fingers and Lucky, that the store is the perfect cover up because they will use it to dig under the street and rob the bank across from it, filling it with nuts instead of money and escaping before anyone realizes the switch, all while Surly and Buddy steal all the cheese from the mouse traps above their heads.
Andie and a dazed Grayson are sent out to find food for the park only to become separated due to being attacked by a rat and when morning comes, Andie confronts Surly, who is trying to retrieve the dog whistle Knuckles threw away. Eventually they make a deal and Surly takes control of Precious with help from the dog whistle, so she couldn't bother anyone while they take the nuts. Surly orders Buddy to follow Andie and that night Buddy overhears Andie talking to the park animals with Raccoon saying that when all the nuts are they're they will take it and leave Surly for dead.
When Andie returns with Mole, and the Bruiser siblings Jamie, Jimmy and Johnny, they have a hard time finding a way in but with Surly's help they find one; digging a tunnel to the basement. At first the plan backfires but with Surly's keen eye they discover that they can dig into the human's tunnel to continue the heist. Surly and Andie talk on the roof which ends coldly due to the fact that Surly cannot let go of his greed.
As it turns out, Raccoon's greed is far worse then Surly's ever could be. For years he kept food away from the animals in order to stay in control but now with the Nut job slowly becoming a success, he orders Mole to sabotage it in order to stay on top. While Surly looks upon his home, he is reunited with Grayson, who is babbling like an idiot and frightened of rats before discovering that Mole is trying to drown the Bruiser siblings by flooding the tunnel.
With help from Precious, Surly saves them and manages to force the truth out of Mole by nearly blinding him to the light of a lightbulb. However when he tries to tell them the news, nobody listens and the credit of saving the brothers go to Grayson. Furious by their blindness, Surly shuns them all away, especially Buddy whom he calls useless.
With his trust shattered, Surly goes to collect nuts to feed himself while Precious tries to play with him but Surly pushes her away angrily. However he is captured by King and his men who are about to burn him alive but are stopped by the arrival of Lana, King's girlfriend. Surly watches as Lana and King talk and King leaves to rob his bank while Precious manages to convince Lana to free Surly. Surly is shocked by Precious' act of kindness and his trust in others is restored by the pug's good deed.
Once outside Raccoon and his rat minions capture Surly but not before the bank robbers blow the bank vault and the animals soon find themselves scattered among the men and the rats who are after Surly. Surly manages to talk sense into Grayson who leads the others out of the basement and Raccoon tricks them into getting into the car and locks them in. Surly and Grayson use pigeons to go after the robbers with Raccoon and Cardinal close by. After fighting off Cardinal, Surly and Grayson get to the others the same time as Raccoon who tries to throw Surly out of the truck but Mole, finally having enough, confesses to Raccoon's crimes and Andie realizes that Surly was telling the truth the whole time while Raccoon was the real thief. Grayson calls for a vote and everyone votes Raccoon out of the park for good. Outraged, Raccoon throws Surly out but he hitches a ride on a police car to catch up to his friends. Andie angrily goes after Raccoon while Lucky and Fingers go after King and Knuckles, upon realizing their own boss tricked them out of their share of money, but they run into a police barricade over a dam, which knocks out Andie.
Surly arrives the same time King lends Lucky and Fingers over to the police and goes to Andie's side while Knuckles rigs the van to explode. Surly rescues Andie before the van explodes but everyone falls into the river below when it blows the walls of the dam to huge chunks. Surly manages to get himself onto a log suspended over a waterfall before Raccoon confronts him. Buddy buys Surly time by throwing a nut bag at the villain and the purple squirrel uses it to make Knuckles keel over in pain and collapse onto Raccoon. However Raccoon holds Surly to the log as it breaks apart. While the others want to save both of them, Surly gives his life to save them, bidding Andie and Buddy one last good bye before letting go and falling over the edge with Raccoon.
As morning comes, the nuts arrive in the park and the animals hail Grayson a hero. Meanwhile King is arrested and Lana calls off their relationship while Precious goes into the park. As Andie and Buddy morn for Surly, Precious finds Buddy and takes him to a small river where the motionless body of Surly has washed up. Crying, Buddy speaks his first words to Surly "Best Friend" as an act of forgiveness while Precious howls in sadness. As they are about to leave, Surly wakes up and embraces Buddy, no longer the careless, selfish thief he was before. Precious licks him happily and leaves with Lana, the new owner of the nut store, and Andie is thrilled to see him again and hugs him. Surly decides to give credit for saving the park to the team and becomes more willing to work with others now that trust, faith and friendship have become far more important to him and leaves with Buddy.
In the end, Surly gives one last narration as he and Buddy overlook the scene of cheering animals and leave, but not before Surly winks tot he audience and finishes his narration by saying "After all, we're all a little nuts."
- Will Arnett as Surly
- Brendan Fraser as Grayson
- Gabriel Iglesias as Jimmy
- Jeff Dunham as Mole
- Liam Neeson as Raccoon
- Katherine Heigl as Andie
- Stephen Lang as King
- Maya Rudolph as Precious
- Sarah Gadon as Lana
- James Rankin as Fingers
- Scott Yaphe as Lucky
- Joe Pingue as Johnny
- Annick Obonsawin as Jamie
- Julie Lemieux as Girl Scout
- Robert Tinkler as Buddy, Redline
- James Kee as a Street Rats, armoured guard
- Scott McCord as Police Officer, miscellaneous animals.
- Katie Griffin as a park pigeon
On January 23, 2014, The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature was announced with a release date of January 15, 2016. On April 11, 2016, the release date was pushed back to May 19, 2017. Will Arnett, Gabriel Iglesias, Jeff Dunham, Katherine Heigl and Maya Rudolph are confirmed to reprise their roles. The film will detail the park animals banding together to prevent a crooked mayor from bulldozing Liberty Park and replacing it with a dangerous amusement park. On May 25, 2016, Heitor Pereira was hired to score the film. On July 5, 2016, Jackie Chan joined the cast as the territorial street mouse gang leader Mr. Feng. In December 2016, the film was pushed back to August 11, 2017.
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