Combustible Celluloid
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With: (voices) Zach Braff, Garry Marshall, Don Knotts, Patrick Stewart, Amy Sedaris, Steve Zahn, Joan Cusack, Wallace Shawn, Harry Shearer, Fred Willard, Catherine O'Hara, Patrick Warburton, Adam West
Written by: Robert L. Baird, Steve Bencich, Ron J. Friedman, Dan Gerson
Directed by: Mark Dindal
MPAA Rating: G
Running Time: 77
Date: 10/30/2005

Chicken Little (2005)

2 Stars (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Disney's latest animated feature has the same feel of desperation that their other recent efforts, Home on the Range and Brother Bear, had. It's as if the company has finally discovered that all the meetings and focus groups in the world can't quite figure out what kids want to see.

And so Chicken Little emerges as a nervous bundle of drips and drabs taken from dozens of other movies and TV shows, jokes and ideas all previously tested. But this pincushion is stretched too thin and in too many directions.

Zach Braff provides the voice of the hero, who proclaims that the sky is falling, and becomes a laughingstock. It turns out he's right, though, and that aliens are invading! The whole thing is wrapped up in a message that fathers and sons should talk more. (Garry Marshall provides a fatherly heft as Chicken's dad.)

The movie mostly squanders its great voice talent (Don Knotts, Amy Sidaris, Patrick Stewart, Joan Cusack, Steve Zahn) on more comical sidekick "types," and the funniest character is a fish with no voice. In the film's final minutes, when the final "joke" pays off, the real heavyweights turn up: Fred Willard, Catherine O'Hara, Patrick Warburton and Adam West.

A couple of terrible songs help pad out the scant 77-minute running time.

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