A cave family called the Croods survives several natural disasters, due to stubborn patriarch Grug refusing to let anyone leave the cave except for short periods to gather food. Eep, his teenage daughter, loves her family but frequently rebels against these strictures. One night, Eep sneaks out when she sees a light, and encounters an inventive modern human boy named Guy and his pet sloth Belt, who have made a torch. He warns her of an impending apocalypse and offers to help her escape, but Eep elects to stay with the family. Guy leaves her a shell horn to blow if she needs help, but when Eep returns to her frantic family, they destroy the horn out of fear of the “New”.
A massive earthquake destroys the cave and surrounding lands, and the Croods flee into a jungle they discover below their home mountains. Encountering a “Macawnivore”, a brightly colored feline whom Eep’s grandmother dubs “Chunky”, the family flees him, until he is scared off by swarms of “piranhakeets” that devour a ground whale. Making another horn, Eep calls to Guy, who rescues them with his fire. After a great deal of confusion regarding the Croods’ first contact with fire, Grug imprisons Guy in a log so he can guide them somewhere safe. To appease Grug, Guy suggests the Croods go to a mountain where there are caves, though in reality he and the other Croods doubt the wisdom of this.
During the journey, Guy is eventually trusted enough to be allowed out of the log. Grug attempts to steal a bird’s egg for dinner, but catches a scorpion instead, and Guy teaches Eep how to lay a trap for the bird itself. Guy endears himself to most of the Croods by inventing rudimentary shoes for the family, and other “ideas” which help them along the way. He also tells a story of “Tomorrow”, a land of light where curiosity is not to be feared. Grug becomes jealous of Guy, especially when he notices he and Eep are falling in love. His disastrous attempts to fight against change, and to come up with inventions and ideas of his own, distance him from his family and cause his wife Ugga to have a serious discussion with him.
The family finds a cave, but no one but Grug wants to go in, having learned to adapt to living outside. Angered, Grug attacks Guy, but the two fall over a cliff into a tar flow. Guy reveals that he lost his own family to a tar flow, and believes they are doomed. Grug, softened by the story, decides that he and Guy will have to work together to escape. They make a dummy to attract Chunky, who mistakes them for a female cat and pulls them free.
A volcanic cataclysm begins, and Guy and the Croods flee until they are halted at the edge of a chasm where the continents are drifting apart. Grug feels the sun’s warmth through the smoke, and realizes that there may be good land on the other side. Grug tosses the others over the chasm one by one, knowing he will be left behind. He shares his latest invention, a “hug”, with Eep before throwing her over with the rest of the family. They land, unharmed, on fertile land on the opposite cliff, while Grug shelters alone in a cave.
Grug encounters Chunky, who reveals he is scared of the dark, and seeks comfort with Grug instead of attacking him. Hearing Eep blowing her horn to mourn him, Grug assumes they are calling for his help and comes up with his biggest new idea. He uses tar, fire, a whale ribcage and the pirhanakeets to create a makeshift airship, in which he, Chunky, and several other animals escape the final eruption and fly over the chasm to join the others.
Grug is welcomed lovingly back as the leader of the family, and Eep returns his hug. Together with Guy and their new pets, the Croods begin a new life in a tropical mountainside that leads down to the seashore, where they can follow the sun every day and enjoy inventions both Guy and Grug come up with.
I wasn’t a fan of the Croods. I did not find it all that funny but my kiddo did. So much so that when the sequel came out he begged and begged for months to watch. It is one movie as a adult I will happily pass but just put on for him to enjoy on his own.
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