A 'family' film that bores the family
Issue date: 8/11/06 Section: Entertainment
For instance, every character in this film is big, round and shiny, like living balloons; in several scenes where the cows engage in battles with coyotes (?) with no wounds present on their rubbery bodies, I was afraid that they would pop. Another example (probably the most infamous, and the most disturbing) comes in an unanswered question: Why is it that the male bovines - such as the elder alpha male Ben (Sam Elliott) and frat-boy lead Otis (Kevin James) - all have udders? A strange case of gender confusion on its own, but how about this compounded with the fact that milk replaces alcohol as the drink of choice during the cows' impromptu joyride in a stolen car? With all the male cows running around, I struggle to come up with a human equivalent to this bizarre ritual of drinking one's own bodily fluids, though perhaps such thoughts are best left unthought. It makes one almost nostalgic for the oddly terrifying sight of anthropomorphized autos in Cars.
Still more to ponder: the presence of, um, female cows Daisy (Courteney Cox) and Bessie (Wanda Sykes, in the third movie in as many weeks where I've had to suffer through her aren't-I-sassy routine). Daisy is apparently Otis' romantic interest in the film, left widowed and pregnant as we meet her, certainly orchestrated as such to distract from the fact that the two characters only spend three scenes together. Certainly saves some time in an eighty-minute film, doesn't it?
Honestly, beyond its (unintentional?) psychosexual oddities, there's nothing terribly unique about this film; it's like a rural Lion King with more slapstick, and a version of the nosy Gladys Kravitz from "Bewitched" (Maria Bamford) thrown in for good measure. Most of the jokes revolve around how animals act like humans when humans aren't around, except they also still act like animals. You, of course, being a responsible parent, will probably only drive yourself crazy, alternatively with boredom and in contemplation of the strange ideas that are foisted upon your adolescents, so you're probably better off elsewhere in the movie theater. For further insanity, try to wrap your brain around why it is that, even in a third-rate children's film, brilliant professional voice actors like Maurice LaMarche, Cam Clarke and Rob Paulsen are reduced to playing second bananas to whatever bankable-but-affordable "stars" are available at the time.