I'm not going to deny that kids might get a kick out of this movie. It's bright, colorful, fast-paced, and features rapid-fire jokes and some fun voice performances. I mean, you can't really go wrong with Nicolas Cage as a neanderthal, right?
On the other hand, "The Croods" is a perfect demonstration of one of my recurring complaints with DreamWorks Animation movies: despite the rather ham-handed efforts they make to include a "moral" in all of their stuff, the messages tend to get a little garbled. "Kung Fu Panda," for example -- a lazy, obese daydreamer who has never invested a minute of work into becoming a martial arts master, he is the Dragon Warrior. Meanwhile, the guy who trained his butt off? He's the villain.
Similarly, "The Croods" seems to want to say some important things about the need to overcome your fears, etc. In order to do it, it paints the father, Nicolas Cage's Grug, as a ridiculously overprotective wet blanket who's motto is, "Don't not be afraid." Grug's perspective is never justified in any way or shown to be partially correct. Instead, he has to adapt to the new way of life introduced by Ryan Reynolds' Guy. Adapt or die, basically. Well, not basically -- that's pretty much literally what the movie comes down to in the climactic moments. In the meantime, the teenage daughter and her hip new boyfriend are shown to be completely in the right and her rebellion from the old ways is nothing but positive. Now, tell me that doesn't sound like maybe not the best lesson to teach young kids.
It might be fun for kids, but watching "The Croods" will really just make parents appreciate the finely crafted messages found in Disney and Pixar movies all the more.