"Spring has sprung, and Verne and his woodland friends awaken from their long winter's nap to discover that a tall, green "thing" has mysteriously cropped up right through the middle of their home. Enter RJ, an opportunistic raccoon, who explains that the world beyond the hedge is the "gateway to the good life" where peculiar creatures called humans live to eat, rather than eat to live." http://movies.yahoo.com
NOTE: This spoiler sent in by Car2nist. who calls this film - "A very cute and sweet movie; graphics are phenomenal, and the characters memorable!"
The movie begins with RJ the Raccoon (Bruce Willis) trying to get food from a vending machine somewhere in one of those truck stops. The machine jams, and RJ can't reach the bag of chips, so he climbs up to a cave where Vincent the Bear (Nick Nolte) is hibernating. Vincent has a lot of food stocked in his cave, mostly junk food such as chips and candies and cookies. RJ uses some of his gadgets (mostly junk from trash) to quietly get himself to steal all the food on a wagon and escape. He gets greedy and tries to steal the Pringles chips from Vincent's arm and accidentally wakes Vincent knocks the wagon out of the cave and onto the road, where a truck drives by and crushes all the food.
Vincent is ready to eat RJ until RJ proposes to get all the food back including the wagon and a cooler. Vincent agrees and gives RJ about a week's time (till full moon) to get all the food back or Vincent will eat RJ.
Next scene we see Verne the Turtle (Garry Shandling) being woken up by a drop of melting snow. Spring is here, and all the animals are waking up from their hibernation. Verne seems to be the one in charge, so he wakes everyone from their little log to begin gathering food for their next winter hibernation. The animals include Hammy the Squirrel (Steve Carell), Ozzie the Possum (William Shatner) and his daughter Heather (Avril Levine), Stella the Skunk (Wanda Sykes), Lou the Porcupine (Eugene Levy) and his wife Penny (Catherine O' Hara) and three kids.
The gang has a hard time finding decent food, and while at it, they come across "the hedge,"¨ which is actually just a hedge but is foreign and mighty in their eyes. They take awhile to get familiar with the hedge, which acts as a boundary around the only part of the entire town that is untouched by human. Verne goes through the hedge himself and trips over and knocks around human objects in their garden, such as the sprinklers, fountains and balls. Verne claims the other side of the hedge to be too dangerous, and ask none of the animals to cross.
RJ is in the area, since he realizes the best place to gather so much food in such little time is to find where it is heavily populated by humans. He overhears Verne's conversation with the gang, and he comes across the idea to use these animals to help him gather the food for the bear. So RJ intrudes and immediately takes over as the leader, only Verne was a little cautious and uncertain about RJ, but the rest of the gang loves him, and quickly accepts him as their own.
RJ tempts the animals by opening up a bag of nacho cheese chips, and the gang immediately draws to any plan that RJ has to get the delicious food. RJ takes his time to explain how humans always have food and how they can have access to the food. They have several successful missions, stealing not only food, but things like TV and seats and all the things they can get their hands on. But one time when they try to steal cookies from two girl scouts, they succeed but draw attention from a bitter lady Gladys (Allison Janney) that vows to keep her community safe and clean. She calls in Dwayne the Verminator (Thomas Hayden Church) to kill the animals in the area. Dwayne sets up a lot of traps in the area and is really crazy and obsessed about catching little animals.
Verne is actually getting a little worried about the gang and maybe a little jealous of all the attention that RJ is getting from them, so Verne decides to do the right thing, and return all the food that they stole back to their owners. RJ tries to stop Verne, only to make matters worse, and to destroy many parts of the neighborhood with a guard dog chasing them. In the end, not only is the food not returned, the food is destroyed by a number of their unfortunate incidents.
The gang is sad and down to know about the food being gone, and Verne is blamed and is kicked out of the group. RJ comes in to convince Verne to steal the food with him, and doing all this without letting Verne or the gang know that the food is for the bear. So knowing that the lady Gladys is having a party the next day, RJ comes up with a plan to get everything from the house, and Verne apologizes and joins the plan.
In the middle of the night, they send in Stella the Skunk to seduce the cat of Gladys, and the rest of them will turn off the trap and get in the house and steal all the food. Just when they get all the food they need and are on their way out, RJ sees the Pringles chips in the top shelf, and he immediately goes out of control and climbs to get the chips. Verne and the gang try to get RJ to go, but RJ, out of control, screams out that he has to get the chips for Vincent the bear and accidentally knocks over wine bottles waking Gladys up. Gladys calls the Verminator and RJ manages to escape, while the Verminator shows up and catches the entire gang.
Even with the gang captured, RJ still walks away and gets the food to Vincent the Bear. But Vincent is watching everything from the hill, and tells RJ that he admires RJ for being so cold-hearted, and that makes RJ turn around and heads toward the truck that has the gang locked in. RJ takes the food and the wagon and crashes it on the truck, knocking Dwayne the Verminator out and opening the cages, setting the animals free.
But this time, Vincent is really mad, and chases after the truck, which is being driven by the three little porcupines. The car crashes some police cars and into Gladys' house, and the gang runs towards the hedge. Now being trapped inside the hedge, they have Vincent the bear clawing at them on one side, and Gladys and Dwayne on the other side zapping them with tasers. RJ and Verne sends Hammy the Squirrel to turn the traps back on, and at the same time, lures the bear past the hedge onto the human side. Triggering the trap, Vincent the Bear, Dwayne, and Gladys are zapped and locked into a cage, where the police take them away for using illegal traps.
RJ apologizes to the gang for not telling them the truth about the Bear, and Verne says that if RJ would have told them the story in the beginning, they all would have helped him gather the food without a doubt; because that is what families do. Just when Verne asks everyone to start their food gathering, he realizes that Hammy the Squirrel has actually gathered all the nuts and acorns in the area that filled up the entire log and would last them the entire winter.
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