Wednesday, July 11, 2012 | 3:50 p.m.
In the U.S., the Ice Age series is small-time compared to the likes of Shrek or Toy Story, but worldwide, the animated franchise is a phenomenon, with fourth installment Ice Age: Continental Drift recently breaking box-office records in Europe and Latin America. Maybe it’s the completely anonymous, unassuming nature of the adventures of three prehistoric animals that allows the series to be easily exported to other countries. Maybe it’s the broad, predictable jokes and simplistic storylines, all present in the latest installment about Manny the woolly mammoth (voiced by Ray Romano), Diego the saber-toothed tiger (Denis Leary) and Sid the sloth (John Leguizamo) facing down, um, a band of prehistoric animal pirates. Whatever it is, Continental Drift offers up more of it, in an easily digestible form that will distract kids and won’t unduly inconvenience adults. Apparently the trick to creating a worldwide phenomenon is to be as mediocre and innocuous as possible.