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With: (voices) Rosanne Barr, Steve Buscemi, Judi Dench, Cuba Gooding Jr., Randy Quaid, Jennifer Tilly, Patrick Warburton, Dennis Weaver
Written by: Will Finn, John Sanford, from a story by Will Finn, John Sanford, Michael LaBash, Sam Levine, Mark Kennedy, Robert Lence
Directed by: Will Finn, John Sanford
MPAA Rating: PG for brief mild rude humor
Running Time: 76
Date: 03/21/2004

Home on the Range (2004)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

A brassy show-cow, Maggie (voiced by Rosanne Barr), gets sold to a dairy farm, where she teams up with two other bovines, the sophisticated Mrs. Caloway (voiced by Judi Dench) and the touchy-feely Grace (voiced by Jennifer Tilly) to save the farm from evil cattle rustlers.

Disney's latest animated feature boasts staggeringly beautiful, fluid animation, using sharp exaggerated angles instead of their traditional circles and ovals. The screenplay, however, smacks of desperate studio executives who are out of touch with today's audience. It combines odd references (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, There's Something About Mary) with kung-fu and grown-up jokes (about real vs. fake udders and nightclub bouncers) and an ages-old plot.

Strangely, Disney has blamed their recent box-office slowdown on old-fashioned hand-drawn animation, stating that Home on the Range will be their last and that they will be going exclusively over to 3-D computer animation. If the scripts don't improve, however, their problems won't go away.

Meanwhile, Home on the Range will please some children without nauseating adults, though it won't hold up to repeated viewings. k.d. lang, Bonnie Raitt and Tim McGraw provide songs to go with the Alan Menken score.

DVD Details: Disney's kid-friendly DVD comes with a bonus short, A Dairy Tale: The Three Little Pigs (featuring voice talent from the feature), plus deleted scenes, games, a music video and a making-of "featurette."

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