Making the Grades
Male cows with udders are ridiculous --"udder"ly ridiculous. But once you get past this anatomical error, Barnyard: The Original Party Animals has its moments of farmyard fun.
It's a classic case of coming out to play while the farmer is away. Turning the old red barn into a pool hall with poker, gambling, a dance floor and a bar, these animals are all about having a good time. Luckily, at least a couple of the beasts have the sense to keep any eye out for the farmer's return.
Watching over the menagerie of critters is Ben the Bovine (voice by Sam Elliot) and Miles the mule (voice by Danny Glover). While the cows, chickens, pigs and horses whoop it up in the shed, Ben stands as a sentinel, protecting them from an encroaching pack of hungry coyotes led by Dag (voice by David Koechner).
Although he tries to groom his rebellious and irresponsible son to some day take over the role, Otis (voice by Kevin James) is reluctant to give up his wild ways. Joyriding in a stolen car with open bottles of milk (that mimic the effects of beer), the younger cow and his gang of buddies (voices by S. Scott Bullock, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche) go on a boy-tipping spree and then try to outrun the police. Later they steal motorcycles from outside of a bar. Only after an unexpected event and the arrival of a pregnant heifer named Daisy (voice by Courtney Cox) does Otis rethink his behaviors and his future.
This entirely CGI animated film has a familiar storyline about accepting responsibility and learning to appreciate wise advice. However, the message takes a while to learn for this unruly Holstein. For young audience members the lesson contains some portrayals of reckless behavior that are short on consequences, rude actions and tense moments when the farmyard critters and the wild coyotes face off on a dark night in an old junkyard. During their confrontation, one coyote has his head slammed against a bus window and many of the characters are hit, punched and kicked.
Still for older viewers and their parents, Barnyard may be one of the more entertaining of this year's animated offerings with a mix of adult and children's humor. While it may not be the most "moo"-ving film of the year, most families won't mind hoofing it into theaters to visit this farm.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Barnyard: The Original Party Animals.
How are adoptive parents portrayed in this film? How does Ben show his love for Otis?
Cow tipping is a common urban myth (although some would argue it’s true) portrayed in some films. In the movie Cars, the activity is also spoofed when two automobiles go out for a night of tractor tipping. To decide if you believe this legend, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cow_tipping.