Over the Hedge is a syndicated comic strip written and drawn by Michael Fry and T. Lewis. It tells the story of a raccoon, turtle, a squirrel, and their friends who come to terms with their woodlands being taken over by suburbia, trying to survive the increasing flow of humanity and technology while becoming enticed by it at the same time. The strip debuted in June 1995.
A raccoon con artist, RJ takes pride in being extremely lazy. He apparently envisions himself as an intellectual; however, his "facts" are obviously false. He loves to ransack human homes, as well as watch them and their televisions through the windows. While he enjoys commenting on human life, most of his statements are false as well, although he has studied humans and knows their ways of getting food, and even has slightly imprinted on them. He was shown to care for Clara even before she was born, (after he learned that babies can hear some things outside of the mother from Verne) by reading The Hunchback of Notre Dame and singing a horrible version of "Stairway to Heaven". He is sometimes shown without a brain, using his brain cavity to store his "hanky", and breath mints. He is shown to have the ability to expand to fit a massive amount of food, and is known as "that horrible raccoon kid" on Halloween. He claimed in one strip that he is an immortal god, and once "confessed" to Verne for "lighting the fuse" to the Big Bang, which he explained was because "The matches were right there, and the sign said "Don't light this fuse!!!", so...". He also said that the universe "will have to reschedule the time when the Sun will burn out", as he has "a tail rinse that day".
Verne had a serious dislike for RJ, but eventually, he becomes his best friend and partner in crime. A sensitive, philosophizing, lactose abhorrent turtle who is reflective and prone to allergies. Verne is a true renaissance-turtle, a cautious and critical observer with a deep spiritual side and a tingling feeling in his tail when something is not right. He is one of the most intelligent characters (second to "The Tree That Knows Stuff"), but he sometimes lacks a basic common sense. His proudest achievement is gathering all of the air conditioners out of Suburbia, and shouting, "LET THE GLOBAL COOLING COMMENCE!!!", just as RJ was about to plug them all in. He is a computer nerd, and he once "broke" the Internet. Most recently his shell was used as a hotspot for Queen Izzy, the Ant Queen, and her ant subjects, forcing him to first wear a Lucky Charms cereal box, and then a utili-kilt.
A hyperactive squirrel, Hammy is the least intelligent, though also the most lovable character in the strip, spouting random comments at random moments. His comments usually state an unusually short lecture on a topic of little interest to the other characters. The character started the strip as "Hammy," but the character was renamed as "Sammy." The character was known for some time thereafter as "Sammy", until he swapped places with his duplicate, also named "Hammy," from the other side of a mirror. On July 14, 2016, the character was referred to as "Hamilton" by R.J.
A computer-animated film adaptation, written by Travis Gibbons and T. Lewis, and produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by Paramount Pictures, was released on May 19, 2006 (June 30, 2006 in UK). The film adaptation features RJ befriending a group of woodlanders (two of whom are Hammy and Verne) and introducing them to suburbia, with an ulterior motive of helping him replenish the food supply he stole from a bear. Bruce Willis, Garry Shandling, Steve Carell, William Shatner, Wanda Sykes and Nick Nolte star as RJ, Verne, Hammy, Ozzie (an opossum), Stella (a skunk), and Vincent (a bear) respectively. The film is also notable for containing Avril Lavigne's first major film role, as Heather, Ozzie's continuously embarrassed teenage daughter.
The film grossed $155,000,000 in the United States and $180,000,000 overseas, making the gross $336,000,000. It received a 75 "Certified Fresh" on Rotten Tomatoes, a 6.8 rating on IMDB, and a 67 on Metacritic, indicating favorable reviews.