Lower expectations deliver a superior return on The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature (2017)

Yet another in the bafflingly long list of animated films which didn’t deserve a sequel, the follow-up to 2014’s “The Nut Job” is now in UK cinemas. Here’s the surprising bit: it’s not that bad.

When the Nut Shop is suddenly destroyed, Surly the squirrel (Will Arnett) is faced with the prospect of returning to foraging in nature for food. But when even that existence is threatened by a crooked real estate developer, Surly and his woodland pals must take up arms against a sea of bulldozers and save their park.

Where the first film was bogged down by a convoluted plot involving some human robbers and a power struggle between rival woodland factions, the sequel is refreshingly straightforward: the animal’s park is under threat from the machinations of the corrupt and greedy Mayor (Bobby Moynihan). The simplicity of the plot leaves plenty of time for slapstick battles between builders, exterminators and the forest dwellers, boosted by an army of ninja warrior mice led by Mr Feng (Jackie Chan).

It’s not terribly original but it’s fuss-free knockabout stuff, with plenty of pratfalls and silliness to keep the kids entertained. It kept both Cragglings (11 & 4) happy for its 90-minute run time and while there are better animated offerings out there at the moment, there are also a lot worse.