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HOME ON THE RANGE (PG) (2004)

Disney Pictures

Official Site

Director: Will Finn, John Sanford

Producers: Alice Dewey Goldstone

Written by: Will Finn, John Sanford

Cast: Judi Dench, Roseanne, Jennifer Tilly, Randy Quaid, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Steve Buscemi, Sara Jessica Parker, Jane Du Bois

Rating:

If you’re hoping for an adult-friendly cartoon like Finding Nemo or Toy Story, sorry, you’re in the wrong theater. This is definitely a G-raters flick only, with plenty of slapstick comedy and “let’s work together” morals. Surprisingly, though, there was neither a cute, fuzzy sidekick nor a bevy of songs like “A Whole New World” or “Hakuna Matata.” Disney is definitely growing up in its animated filmmaking, and while I will forever hold the score to Little Mermaid dear to my heart, I must say that I’m glad the company is backing off the Broadway.

Home On The Range follows the story Maggie (Barr), Grace (Tilly), and Mrs. Caloway (Dench), three dairy cows desperately searching for a way to save their overtaxed farm. In a moment of bovine brilliance, they decide to undertake the capture of infamous cattle rustler Alameda Slim (Quaid) in hopes of claiming the bounty reward. Standing in their way, though, is one idiot of an equine, who can’t seem to get it into his head that this is their gig. Buck (Gooding, Jr.) is a hero in his own mind and vows to gain the respect he so much deserves by catching Slim himself, even if that means nasty tricks and snarky comments.

Roseanne is of course Disney’s resurrected ’90s comedian (I’m noticing a theme here) who, although zealous in her role, fails to execute the sincere humor of Finding Nemo’s Dory. Don’t get me wrong, she definitely has the occasional zinger, but too often the jokes are aimed at the younger crowd. Well, for the most part, anyway. There are one or two lines that I sincerely hope will go over most 5- to 10-year-olds’ heads, or there are gonna be some awkward conversations at dinner. “Mommy, what did that boy cow mean when he said to the girl cow that they could help each other out?” “Reading, honey, he meant that she could help him with his reading.”

I have to say that my favorite part of the movie is its animated depiction of Steve Buscemi. He only plays a bit role, but the way the artists capture his odd little face and that rat-like sneer—brilliance! I would love to see the Disney crew whip up an animated version of Fargo. But back to the movie at hand. Rating Home On The Range is a tough job because there are essentially two rating systems to any animated film: my system and the little people’s system. Me, I found it to be a “feh” film—a couple of funny points, but nothing special. The kids in the theater, on the other hand, seemed to genuinely enjoy it, and I have to consider that this is the audience for whom it was essentially made. While I personally was less than impressed with Home On The Range, I would definitely go take my hypothetical kids to go see it—and then spend the next 76 minutes telling them to sit down and shut up.

— Emily Younger

 

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

Itís worth a full-price ticket.

Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...


Mike Doughty



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