Consider what we can learn from Native American school children in Canada. Rene Lenoir reports that when a prize is offered for the first in a group to answer a question, the students work out answer together and shout it out at the same time. They can't bear for one to win, leaving the rest as losers. The winner would be separate from his brothers and sisters; he or she would have won the prize but lost the community. Now that's a weird and wonderful lesson that goes against the established views that we should all strive to be winners. Surf's Up is a pleasant and entertaining animated film that proclaims the same countercultural message.

Cody Maverick (voiced by Shia LaBeouf) is a cocky penguin who lives with his family in Shiverpool, Antarctica. His father died years ago, and he gets no respect from his mother (Dana I. Belben) and cynical older brother (Brian Poshn) when it comes to his dream of winning the upcoming 10th Annual Big Z Memorial Surf-Off. His idol is Big Z who once visited the island and gave him a necklace which he wears all the time. Big Z disappeared in a big wave at a competition years ago, but his legend lives on.

As he is discovered by a recruiter and travels to the first competition on Pen Gu Island, Cody is followed by a camera crew, who periodically interview him about his experiences. He meets and is befriended by Chicken Joe (Jon Heder), a carefree chicken from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, who surfing style is to go with the flow of things. Their main competition is Tank Adams (Diedrich Bader), an emperor penguin who has won many trophies and thinks that the newcomers are losers. Reggie Belafonte (James Woods), the greedy promoter of the Surf-Off, wants to make the most out of the battle between Tank and the youngsters. Standing on the sidelines is Lani Alikai (Zooey Deschanel), a lifeguard who catches Cody's eye. When he is injured in his first ride in the competition, she takes him to a hermit (Jeff Bridges), who turns out to be a natural healer and much more.

This delightful animated feature directed by Ash Brannon and Chris Buck is sure to be popular with families and all those who like penguins. The idea of them as surfers is quite clever and works wonderfully in the story. But the best thing of all is the portrait of the relationship that develops between Cody and the hermit. It says a lot about the need all boys and young men have for mentoring. Jeff Bridges steals the movie as this laid-back character who helps Cody to see that winning isn’t all it's cracked up to be.

Special DVD features include a making waves documentary; Meet the Penguins with Mario Cantone; a music video: "Lose Myself" by Lauryn Hill; an original short: "The ChubbChubbs Save Xmas"; a storyboard to Surfboard Multi-Angle; Arnold's Zurfinary; and a Surf Cam documentary.