A Close Shave (1995)
A Close Shave (1995)

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, and Short Running Time: 30 min.

Release Date: December 29th, 1995 MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Director: Nick Park Actors: Peter Sallis, Peter Hawkins, Anne Reid

 


 

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n a quiet but dark evening, a little black sheep sneaks into Wallace and Gromit’s home. The following morning, after contending with a severely malfunctioning porridge-dispensing machine, which acted up due to a chewed wire, the duo discovers that the stray sheep has been nibbling on everything in sight. In a particularly hysterical scene, the sheep culprit takes the place of Wallace’s footstool as it devours the actual ottoman.

The twosome’s latest profession is a window cleaning service, which leads them to Wendolene Roundsbottom (Anne Reid), who works at a sewing store, and appears to be the prime suspect in a sheep rustling scheme (along with her menacing pooch Preston). With a wool shortage going around, Wendolene certainly has the incentive. The problem, however, is that Wallace is smitten by the woman.

For the first time in Wallace and Gromit’s theatrical adventures, Wallace has a love interest. And the supporting character, Shaun the sheep, would become a regular staple in Aardman Animation’s repertoire. Here, the villain is also notable, as he’s far more intimidatory than in the last two shorts, and lends to a wrongful conviction, kidnapping, and even murder. It might be scary if it weren’t so incredibly funny.

“You’ll be hunted down like … well, a dog!” The humor is still grand and consistent, the action sequences are familiarly exceptional, and the details are keen (such as when Gromit is sent to prison, where an inscription on the cell wall states that  “Feathers was ‘ere”). One of the best combinations of these elements involves a rescue attempt that finds Wallace stretched between a motorcycle and a truck as sheep walk across him to safety. “Single file! Single file, I say!” And the finale is downright exhilarating, combining the plentiful action with laugh-out-loud funny resolutions.

– Mike Massie

  • 9/10