There's no question that while this fourth installment of the popular animated comedy franchise is wearing thin, it's not facing extinction. Manny the morose woolly mammoth (voiced by Ray Romano) is concerned about his rebellious tween daughter Peaches (voiced by Keke Palmer) yearning to date a cool male mammoth (voiced by Drake): "Next thing you know, she's piercing her trunk."

Just after wishing she didn't have an interfering father, Peaches doesn't, as she and her mom Ellie (voiced by Queen Latifah) watch Manny suddenly slide away on an ice floe that breaks off and floats out to sea. Joining Manny on his unexpected journey are Diego the sarcastic saber-toothed tiger (voiced by Denis Leary), Sid the neurotic sloth (voiced by John Leguizamo) and a newcomer to the group, Sid's sassy, wisecracking Granny (voiced by Wanda Sykes).

Their exciting Paleolithic adventure continues as they encounter perilous pirates who have commandeered an iceberg shaped like a Spanish galleon, led by evil, growling ape Captain Gutt (voiced by pint-sized Peter Dinklage from TV's "Game of Thrones") with his albino saber-toothed buccaneer sidekick, Shira (voiced by Jennifer Lopez), who serves as a love interest for Diego.

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All this chaos was seemingly caused by Scrat, the twitchy squirrel-rat chasing that elusive acorn into the center of the Earth, causing a seismic ripple that fragments the outer crust that comprised the prehistoric land mass called Pangaea,

setting new continents adrift. Undaunted, Scrat is determined to find an acorn-laden paradise called Scratchlantis. And having Scrat silently pursue his pantomime always pays off.

Co-written by Michael Berg and Jason Fuchs, the script

is derivative, uninspiring and insipid, delivering familiarly emotional messages like

"family sticks together" and "we don't leave friends

behind."

On the other hand, Blue Sky's visuals are detailed and dazzling, probably worth the 3-D surcharge if your youngsters are willing to wear the cumbersome glasses.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Ice Age: Continental Drift" is a formulaic 5, frozen by predictability, alleviated only by a whimsically funny four-minute short featuring the Simpsons.