Mr Peabody & Sherman (U) ***

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Man is a dog’s best friend in Rob Minkoff’s computer-animated time-travelling yarn based on characters created in the 1960s TV series, The Rocky And Bullwinkle Show.

Mr Peabody & Sherman harnesses the latest digital trickery to propel the hyper-intelligent canine protagonist and his adopted son on a rip-roaring adventure, including pit-stops in besieged Troy, 18th century France and the Italian Renaissance.

Mr Peabody & Sherman.

Mr Peabody & Sherman.

Craig Wright’s smart script refuses to roll over for sugary sentiment, charting a less obvious route to our heartstrings.

Mr Peabody (voiced by Ty Burrell) is a talking dog, whose myriad achievements include a Nobel Prize, two Olympic medals and the invention of zumba.

Mr Peabody’s greatest triumph is his adopted son, Sherman (Max Charles), who has a fascination with history from accompanying his father on time-travelling trips using the top-secret Wayback Machine.

Mr Peabody’s groansome puns, the stock in trade of any parent, elicit a bewildered response from Sherman – ‘I don’t get it’ – that provides the film with one of its running jokes.

It’s the touching central relationship that anchors the picture and ensures Minkoff’s colour-saturated romp is a well-groomed pick of the animated litter.