What follows is a lowbrow adventure through the bowels of Hell that suggests a strong BEETLEJUICE influence and showcases a who's who of celebrity voices.
Nick Swardson leads the ensemble of players which includes Bob Odenkirk, Danny McBride, Susan Sarandon, Rob Riggle, TJ Miller, Mila Kunis, Jennifer Coolidge, David Koecher, Brian Posehn and Michael Pena. It's a stellar cast and their contributions to the film are wonderful. Odenkirk is particularly hilarious as Satan - a flamboyant poser – who has a constant hard-on for a super sexy angel (played by Sarandon).
HELL AND BACK is a magnificent looking film and were it not for the overkill of vulgarity I would praise it for breaking the kid-friendly mould and presenting adults with a stop-motion picture of their own. Sadly the film is crammed with so much vulgarity that it becomes a one-joke movie, where the humour falls flat before the first act ends. The writers have attempted to be edgy but they've ultimately churned out a desperate attempt at being politically incorrect, which has disrespected what is irrefutably incredible animation artistry.
It breaks my heart to see something that looks so incredible being let down by such a misguided script. All of the voice talents are fantastic too, and it's a shame that they've been given such stodgy, stale and crass dialogue to work with. There are moments of hilarity and some genuine laughs to be had, but the LOL's run thin and the impact of the animation suffers severely. What a wasted opportunity. In fact, come to think of it, the whole narrative and structure of the film is almost identical to the incredible 2005 film MIRRORMASK... and so perhaps go and watch that instead. That'll teach these smarmy writers!!