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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 13.79%
Just Average: 8.05%
Pretty Crappy: 1.15%
Sucks: 1.15%

8 reviews, 39 user ratings

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by brianorndorf

"Something beautiful trapped in something overlong"
3 stars

“Ratatouille” is clever, gorgeously animated, charming, funny, lively, and is determined to work with an original concept. That’s terrific; however, it’s also a picture that overstays its welcome. Call it Pixaritis, named after the animation powerhouse’s determination to adore their creations right into the ground.

Remy is a French rat (voiced by comedic roman candle Patton Oswalt) with a soft spot for gourmet food preparation. When he finds himself alone in Paris, Remy hides near the kitchen of Gusteau’s, a world-famous restaurant on its last legs under the wicked head chef, Skinner (Ian Holm). Working in the kitchen is Linguini (Lou Romano), a clumsy, hopeless aspiring chef. When Linguini finds he can communicate with Remy, the two team up to turn Gusteau’s fortunes around, raising the curiosity of co-worker Colette (Janeane Garofalo) and the ire of Anton Ego (Peter O’Toole), a powerful food critic who long ago lost his appreciation for the culinary arts.

“Ratatouille” marks the return of animation legend Brad Bird (“The Iron Giant”) to the Pixar fold. Three years ago, Bird fashioned a gem called “The Incredibles,” a film that not only upped the geek cred of Pixar, but featured very little in the way of cute and cuddly. “Incredibles” restored a lot of faith in Pixar for me, which was promptly washed away with the anemic artistic softball entitled “Cars.” Thankfully, “Ratatouille” is another step forward for both parties.

Set in a romanticized, glittering Paris, the film is a design triumph, inhaling the vapors of ageless Parisian sights and sounds, while basking in the bright light of cuisine at its most luxurious and intense. The idea of placing a rat in the middle of all this is a stroke of genius, allowing a wide berth for slapstick and assorted food-based hijinks that tear the sanctity off fine dining.

Bird is after a farcical ambiance with “Ratatouille,” putting the dynamic animation through punishing paces as the camera follows Remy scurrying around kitchen floors and sewers avoiding danger or trying to hustle up his own special menu with scraps of this and that. When it wants to be, “Ratatouille” is high-flying entertainment, toying with a comedic speed not seen since the Harold Lloyd days, while also preserving the trademarked Pixar experience for adults by trailing the social and emotional eccentricities of the adult characters.

My only objection is how long this experience should rightfully last. At 110 minutes, “Ratatouille” is too obese for the agenda it lays out. Any hope for a snappy comedy is ruined by the length and Bird has only halfway realized the sections of the story that don’t directly pertain to Remy and Linguini. There’s a brilliant 75-minute film here, and truthfully, I could watch the cooking scenes with Remy all day. But Pixar being Pixar, simplicity just isn’t in the cards here.

The studio has an incredible track record at the box office, but one that’s weighed down with leaden films that abuse the privilege of contrivance to a point of boredom. It was around the time where Linguini and Colette were starting to embark on a flirty relationship that I felt the picture was heading the wrong direction and wasting perfectly good screen time. Even worse is the creation of the food critic, who had every opportunity to become a classic Disney foil. Instead, Bird looks to dish some sass back to the critical community. It’s not nearly as ridiculous and petty as last summer’s “Lady in the Water,” but Bird assigns a speech at the end of the film to Ego concerning the role of a critic in the world that reeks of needless grandstanding.

Hey, at one point this was about a rat, right?

If I sound too down on “Ratatouille,” chalk that up to a sense of disappointment that shadows the entire picture like a storm cloud. There’s so much to embrace about this sharply entertaining Pixar production, and lord knows Bird is an original who deserves as many directorial gigs as money will allow. Yet, walking out of the film, I felt bludgeoned and fatigued by a creation that was so eager to please. It’s a strange reaction to have, but not unwarranted. “Ratatouille” is too much of a good thing, and, while it will certainly delight many, it fumbles the critical impression of timelessness that it should rightfully hold.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=15533&reviewer=404
originally posted: 06/29/07 07:00:00
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User Comments

6/06/18 bored mom The ultimate allegory for great artists pursuing their dreams. Remy is the best! 5 stars
1/05/15 Mario is the Best Not as good as most of Pixar's other movies. 3 stars
9/10/12 marta gilson I can watch this over and over and over 5 stars
10/18/11 Magic Essentially perfect in every way. Lighting, script, cinematography, character design, yeah. 5 stars
3/30/11 TG A truly enjoyable family film. Will make you want cheese. 5 stars
10/23/09 Alex71 A routine is established for rest and play. , 5 stars
10/22/09 Alex41 Democratic Party candidates as a partisan publication. , 4 stars
10/15/09 Billy cute 1 stars
1/09/09 Anonymous. if you're on a diet, don't watch this. :P 4 stars
9/07/08 Carol Durbin I absolutely love this movie and watch it often with my son. Awesome!!! 5 stars
8/14/08 Shaun Wallner My daughter loves this movie! 5 stars
3/04/08 Matt Raises the bar and stands out as the best animated film ever. Remy's the man! 5 stars
2/09/08 pixie dust More quality animation from the curent masters, a cute gem 4 stars
12/28/07 David Cohen The first Pixar movie that did not make me laugh once 2 stars
11/08/07 Charles Tatum Strong, but long, Pixar 4 stars
10/23/07 William Goss First Pixar film to appeal to the soul rather than the heart, and it works. Kudos, O'Toole. 4 stars
10/21/07 katsat There is so much to love about this film. A masterpiece! 5 stars
9/30/07 Jason great movie! 5 stars
9/01/07 Mindyh This movie has everything a great animated film has. 5 stars
8/12/07 katsat Amazing on so many different levels - my favorite Pixar film ever. 5 stars
7/20/07 Pokejedservo What can I say? This is another great Pixar film... 5 stars
7/14/07 Jason it was a really great funny movie 5 stars
7/10/07 Tiffany Losco my daughter loved this movie. So cute, and funny 5 stars
7/08/07 critic's critic This review is more about you showing off than about the movie. 5 stars
7/07/07 Russ Gladchenko An excellent movie for the everyone. I've enjoyed almost every Pixar movie made to date. 5 stars
7/06/07 AnnieG Excellent film - seems to be more for adults than kids. 5 stars
7/05/07 Mike J Best film from the best film studio out there 5 stars
7/05/07 Crispin My 6 yr old daughter and I both loved it. My humorless wife merely enjoyed it. 5 stars
7/04/07 stepalone Magnificient 5 stars
7/03/07 PamE Terrific film. Pixar does it again Way to go Patton Oswalt 5 stars
7/02/07 laura bennett loved it..... 4 stars
7/01/07 Mr X Another Pixar blockbuster, nuff said. 5 stars
7/01/07 BritishKnights Bird's story was written and finished before Cars was released, do your research! 5 stars
6/30/07 Dark Enchantress the best disney-pixar movie ever! I loved it! 5 stars
6/30/07 Sano Pixar has cooked up a charming treat of a movie! 5 stars
6/30/07 Faimen At the end of the film, my son turned to me and asked "Can we buy this?" Says it all. 5 stars
6/30/07 Ole Man Bourbon Easily one of the best films this decade. 5 stars
6/29/07 Quigley Amazingly delicious Pixar film. These guys make the best movies these days, hands-down 5 stars
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  29-Jun-2007 (G)
  DVD: 06-Nov-2007



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