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Overall Rating

Awesome: 8%
Worth A Look: 10%
Just Average: 22%
Pretty Crappy: 16%

5 reviews, 20 user ratings

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by Peter Sobczynski

"Udder Garbage"
1 stars

Because it is the third such film to appear in as many weeks, many industry analysts have been speculating that the new animated film “Barnyard” may struggle at the box-office–having already shelled out plenty of money to see those movies, not to mention such earlier summer titles as “Cars” and “Over the Hedge,”some parents may resist doing it yet again, especially for one that doesn’t appear to bring anything new to the table. That may be true but I suspect that even if it were released at a time with zero animated competition, it would still bomb just because it is terrible–a lame, simple-minded stew of dumb comedy, dumber musical numbers and Very Important Lessons that are delivered with all the subtlety of the mule kicks to the head that make up one of the least funny running gags in a film chock-full of lame running gags.

The conceit of the film is that when humans aren’t looking, barn animals act just like human beings–they walk on two legs, they talk and they love to party. The lead party animal is Otis (Kevin James), the screw-off son of the responsible barnyard leader Ben (Sam Elliott), a wise old cow whose motto is “A strong man stands up for himself–a stronger man stands up for others.” Not the most profound philosophy in the world–frankly, it sounds like one of the lines that Elliott delivered in the immortal “Road House”–but before this can be debated, Ben is killed defending the henhouse from a group of ravenous coyotes, led by the fearsome Dag (David Koechner), in a scene just ugly enough to serve as nightmare fuel for more impressionable kids. As a result, Otis is made the new leader, screws things up and decides to run away for good rather than accept any real responsibility. However, the coyotes launch a sneak attack and the newly resolute Otis, backed by the love of heifer Daisy (Courtney Cox), stomps into action and defeats the coyotes once and for all.

While watching this film, I began to get the uncanny sense that I had seen this particular story before. Let’s review the facts. We have an old cow who is a steely and resolute type that happens to have a son who is an irresponsible twerp who thinks of nothing but himself and of having a good time whenever possible. After a tussle with a foreign adversary leads to the early departure of the old cow, the younger one is thrust into his position of power (after a brief flirtation with putting an easily distracted hound dog in charge) and he immediately proves that he isn’t up to the task. However, after a tragic sneak attack (one of which there was some warning about), the son manages to pull himself together and, with a coalition of fellow animals, goes in and thoroughly thrashes the same bad guys who brought down his dad in an orgy of violence. Face it, “Barnyard” is essentially the George W. Bush story–the only difference being that the war in the film actually does end quickly and decisively.

As a result, the film may prove to be mildly diverting for grad students who love decoding political commentary in stories about barnyard animals but are sick of re-reading George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.” For everyone else, “Barnyard” is little more than a haphazard collection of elements that we have seen in virtually every other recent animated film. We get a long and pointless sequence of people hurtling down some precipice at top speed (something about “hill surfing”), gross gags for the kids (including a bee that get stuck in a pig’s snout not once, but twice), out-of-place musical numbers (including Ben kicking coyote butt while singing Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down”), blatant commercial plugs (including Nike, Motorola and Paramount’s upcoming adaptation of “Charlotte’s Web”) and weak contributions from a cast that may look good from the perspective of someone trying to book people for talk show appearances (besides those mentioned, the film also finds room for Danny Glover, Andie MacDowell and Wanda Sykes, playing yet another sassy best pal) but whose voices aren’t distinctive enough to make much of an impression. There are a couple of fleeting bits of amusingly off-center humor–I especially liked a glimpse of cows riding a mechanical man and chickens throwing darts at a photo of Colonel Sanders–but even they seem like they were just cribbed from an old “Far Side” book and have little to do with anything else.

At this point, some of you may be ready to point out that “Barnyard” is a film that is pretty much aimed squarely at the under-10 set and that I am simply not its intended target audience. That may be true but that doesn’t mean that writer-director Steve Odekerk (the auteur of “Kung Pow”) had to make it so resolutely juvenile–“Monster House” is a perfect example of a film that is skewed towards younger viewers yet still perfectly delightful for anyone whose age has stretched into double-digits. Besides, I’m not even sure that the film works that well even for those tykes–at the screening I attended, a little girl behind me turned to her father about an hour in and began asking when it was going to finally be over.

Look, if you want to take your family to see an animated film this weekend, you should go see “Monster House” without hesitation. If you’ve already seen that one, you should either see it again or give “The Ant Bully” a shot. As for “Barnyard,” there is nothing in it that you haven’t seen done before in a far smarter and more entertaining fashion. I’m not even sure that it is worth checking out on DVD–unless, of course, it includes a deleted scene illustrating exactly what would happen to any farmer attempting to milk a cow voiced by Sam Elliott.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=14905&reviewer=389
originally posted: 08/04/06 00:04:29
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User Comments

4/13/20 Louise (the real one) So much fun I was happy to overlook the male udders. I laughed a lot! 4 stars
3/18/16 Charles Tatum Very funny flick generated equally funny TV series 4 stars
4/01/08 zack i like when it goes wild mite mild mite and that fur ball kicks the cyotes asses 5 stars
4/17/07 Stevo UK Male cows r called bulls, n they dont have udders. But not here, oh no... 1 stars
2/03/07 cody a pretty cool with farm animals and awesomes songs. 3 out of 5 3 stars
12/31/06 Carly Diamond i loved the wild mite it look like he was doing a funky cotton eye joe 5 stars
12/14/06 CrAzY ScOrpiON it's so wonderful movie .. but why the males cows have utters ? 5 stars
10/24/06 Mike Very bad movie but it was sooo stupid that I laughed hard a few times. Get drunk and see it 3 stars
10/07/06 Michelle Love it! Laughed from start to finish and went back to see it a second time.... 5 stars
9/23/06 123CATS! One stupid thing-there is a bull and girl and boy cows! it was okay... 4 stars
9/21/06 Gabriela It was a cute movie but the boy cows with udders threw me off. 3 stars
8/28/06 NEDIII Why did the males cows have utters? Is stealing a car, drinking and driving ok? 2 stars
8/27/06 John Aster Habig Males do NOT HAVE UDDERS Never drink anything coming from a male cow aka bull 1 stars
8/23/06 Chad Thomas Good flick for young kids! 3 stars
8/14/06 Mohobbit Boy Cows? I think the name is Bull. I expected more from Nickolodeon than this. 2 stars
8/10/06 Agent Sands Hilarious. Fuck you guys. 4 stars
8/09/06 Dragon The Artist My gut says this is another,campy,not even medieocre, kid comedy.This time w/ crappy CGI. 1 stars
8/08/06 Mansi Dido Okay, but no fried custard. 3 stars
8/07/06 Jessel Why Doesn't Steve just get the sequel to Kung Pao done? 1 stars
8/05/06 Pokejedservo A pleasant surprise, still flawed but it was better than I thought it would be. 4 stars
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  04-Aug-2006 (PG)
  DVD: 12-Dec-2006

  20-Oct-2006 (PG)

  21-Sep-2006 (PG)

Directed by
  Steve Oedekerk

Written by
  Steve Oedekerk

  Kevin James
  Courteney Cox
  Sam Elliott
  Danny Glover
  Andie MacDowell
  Wanda Sykes

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