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The Nut Job
The Nut Job poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Peter Lepeniotis
Produced by
  • Graham Moloy
  • Woo-Kyung Jung
Screenplay by
  • Peter Lepeniotis
  • Lorne Cameron
Story by Peter Lepeniotis
Music by Paul Intson
Editing by Paul Hunter
  • Endgame Entertainment
  • Red Rover International
  • ToonBox Entertainment
  • Gulfstream Pictures
Distributed by Open Road Films
Release date(s) January 11, 2014 (2014-01-11) (Los Angeles)
January 17, 2014 (2014-01-17) (US & Canada)
January 29, 2014 (2014-01-29) (South Korea)
Running time 86 minutes
Country Canada
South Korea
United States
Language English
Budget $43 million
Money made $120.9 million

The Nut Job is a 2014 3D computer-animated heist-comedy film directed by Peter Lepeniotis, who also wrote the film with Lorne Cameron. It stars the voices of Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser, Gabriel Iglesias, Jeff Dunham and Liam Neeson. Katherine Heigl, Stephen Lang, Maya Rudolph and Sarah Gadon feature in supporting roles. The film is based on Lepeniotis' 2005 short animated film Surly Squirrel. Produced by Gulfstream Pictures, Redrover International and ToonBox Entertainment, it was released in the United States on January 17, 2014, by Open Road Films. With a budget of $43 million, it is the most expensive animated film co-produced in South Korea. The film grossed $120.9 million worldwide against a production budget of $43 million.

A sequel titled The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature was released on August 11, 2017.


In the late 1950s fictional town of Oakton City, a squirrel named Surly (Will Arnett) and his mute rat partner Buddy (Rob Tinkler) reside in Liberty Park where their thieving reputation has made them outcasts. A group of urban animals led by Raccoon (Liam Neeson) and his cardinal assistant are running low on food for winter. Compassionate squirrel, Andie (Katherine Heigl), and glory hogging squirrel, Grayson (Brendan Fraser), compete with Surly and Buddy to scavenge from a nut cart manned by Lucky (Scott Yaphe) and Fingers (James Rankin) who are casing a bank. The squirrels' efforts inadvertently end with the cart's propane tank exploding in the park after its cord was bitten by Fingers' pug Precious (Maya Rudolph). The runaway cart ends up destroying the animals' food supply, resulting in Surly's banishment from the park.

In the city, Surly and Buddy find Maury's Nut Shop. Adjacent to the bank, it is a criminal hideout used by Lucky, Fingers, their boss Percy "King" Dimpleweed (Stephen Lang) and Knuckles, who plan to break through the wall and replace the bank's cash with nuts. King's girlfriend Lana (Sarah Gadon) believes King has gone straight and the nut store is legitimate.

Raccoon sends Andie and Grayson to the city to find food, but they get separated when a street rat approaches them. Andie recovers Fingers' dog whistle, which Knuckles threw out and Surly had used against Precious, and threatens to dispose of it if Surly does not share the nuts he is going to take. Surly accepts and unwittingly befriends Precious after threatening her with the whistle. Andie informs the park community of the plan. Raccoon reluctantly goes with the plan (though planning to deny Surly his share) and assigns Mole (Jeff Dunham) and the Bruisers to go with her. Surly eventually learns from Mole that Raccoon's policy is to control the food supply in order to remain as the park community's leader, and is planning on sabotaging the heist to do so. When Andie does not believe him, Surly leaves after Grayson reunites with them. While collecting the nuts, Surly is captured by King, but he gets freed by Lana since he doesn't have the whistle anymore. Lana then leaves King.

After fending off street rats who work for Raccoon, Surly and Grayson chase the criminal gang's getaway truck, which carries Raccoon and the other animals. Surly fights off Cardinal, and Mole defects from Raccoon and reveals the truth to the animals, resulting in Raccoon being voted out of the park community. King and Knuckles use the dynamite inside the empty truck to blow up a police barricade at a dam, but the police shoots the tire on the truck that falls from the dam. It explodes after Surly gets himself and Andie off it, and they fall into the river below. Surly makes it to a log, but finds out that Raccoon, King, and Knuckles survived the explosion. Raccoon tries to kill Surly, but the nuts' weight begins to break the log. The animals arrive to rescue Surly, but Surly, deciding to be selfless in order to protect his friends, lets himself fall into the waterfall with Raccoon. Now seeing the good side of Surly, the park community mourns him.

The nuts make their way to Liberty Park. King and his associates are arrested as Lana breaks up with King. Andie and Buddy are still mourning over Surly, and when Precious learns what happened, she has Buddy come look at an unconscious Surly, who wakes up and hugs Buddy. Afterward, Precious leaves to meet Lana, who plans to run Maury's Nut Shop. Finding Surly alive, Andie embraces him and suggests to tell the other animals of his heroism. However, Surly declines, yet gains a willingness to work with others, and goes into the city with Buddy, allowing Grayson to take credit for the nuts making it to the park.


  • Will Arnett as Surly, a purple squirrel and the main protagonist.
  • Brendan Fraser as Grayson, a glory-hogging eastern gray squirrel who has a false reputation for being the "park hero".
  • Gabriel Iglesias as Jimmy, a groundhog and the leader of the Bruisers.
  • Jeff Dunham as Mole, a clumsy mole who works for Raccoon and has eyes that are sensitive to light.
  • Liam Neeson as Norvirus Raccoon, an evil raccoon and the self-proclaimed, power-hungry, deceitful con-artist and leader of the park who banishes Surly from the same park. Raccoon's also known for his thirst for Surly's blood which later in the film terrorizes Andie due to her affections for Surly.
  • Katherine Heigl as Andie, a compassionate and beautiful red squirrel who eventually becomes Surly's love interest.
  • Stephen Lang as Percy "King" Dimpleweed, a mob boss.
  • Maya Rudolph as Precious, a pug that is owned by Lucky and later Lana.
  • Sarah Gadon as Lana, King's girlfriend, later ex-girlfriend.
  • James Rankin as Fingers, King's fellow criminal who helps Lucky run "Maury's Nut Shop".
  • Scott Yaphe as Lucky, the owner of the peanut cart, who is Precious' owner and King's associate.
  • Joe Pingue as Johnny, a groundhog and a member of the Bruisers.
  • Annick Obonsawin as Jamie, a small female groundhog and a member of the Bruisers.
  • Julie Lemieux as a girl scout that tries to buy nuts from Fingers and Lucky's nut cart.
  • Robert Tinkler as Buddy, a rat and Surly's mute and incompetent partner-in-crime who does not talk much
    • Robert Tinkler also voices Redline, a mouse who idolizes Grayson and whose catchphrase is "We're all gonna die!".
  • James Kee voices an armored truck guard
    • James Kee also voices a street rat.
  • Scott McCord as a police officer who tries to get Fingers and Lucky to show him a permit for their nut vending.
    • Scott McCord also provides the voices of miscellaneous animals.
  • Katie Griffin as a park pigeon


The film's score was composed by Paul Intson. The soundtrack was released on January 17, 2014.


On January 23, 2014, The Nut Job 2 was announced, with an initial release date of January 15, 2016. On April 11, 2016, the release date was pushed back to May 19, 2017. Will Arnett, Gabriel Iglesias, Jeff Dunham, Katherine Heigl and Maya Rudolph reprised their roles. The film details the park animals banding together to prevent a crooked mayor from bulldozing Liberty Park and replacing it with a dangerous amusement park. On May 25, 2016, Heitor Pereira was hired to score the film. On July 5, 2016, Jackie Chan joined the cast as territorial street mouse gang leader Mr. Feng. In December 2016, the film was pushed back to August 11, 2017.

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