Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Responsibility, responsibility, yawnyerheadoff.

For manboys, suffering from the PP virus - Peter Pan to those in the medical wilderness - this represents the enemy without. Otis (voiced by Kevin Jones) is definitely afflicted. When his dad (Sam Elliot) asks him to help out with a boring communal task, such as protecting the farm against intruders, he does a bunk and joins the rest of the dudes in the barn for partypartyparty!

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Otis is a cow, but don't let that bother you. When the farmer's not around, he walks on his hind legs. The mule (Danny Glover), the dog (Dom Irrera) and the others do, too. And they get up to mischief and do human things, like ride motorbikes and drive cars and have union meetings, except there isn't a proper union. The farm animals, including the ferret and the mouse and the hen's cheeky chick, gather at the barn to listen to their leader, Otis's dad, keeping them up to speed on danger-danger (coyotes) and how best to defend themselves.

The animation is in the style of the piggy bank from Toy Story, except there are weird anomalies. Some of the cows, such as Otis and his dad, are bulls, or should be, but they're not; they have stick-on udders, which look funny - funny, not right.

Just when you are settling into naughty Otis having funfunfun with his pals and enjoying his easy attitude to farm life (avoid the heavy lifting), two things happen to mess up his head. The first is Daisy (Courteney Cox), a new cow in the meadow, who is lickmequick mooable, and the second is his dad dying to save the barnyard.

Now that is HEAVY, but what makes it worse is that the animals want him to be their new leader and he knows he's not ready, although Daisy says he is and she believes in him (shucks!). And so Otis follows Simba's example from The Lion King and goes out to face the enemy and discovers that responsibility has its own rewards (mooray!) and love conquers all.

Before the message thing sinks the script and sentimentality drowns the good times, Barnyard is a bundle of charm. For once, the baddies have bite, although, when the little yellow chick, Otis's friend, is tied up with the other hens in the coyotes' lair, what price gobble-gobble and what price tee-hee-we're-free?

Bookies don't lay odds on certainties, so all bets are off. Blame it on the PC police.

Reviewed on: 18 Oct 2006
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Barnyard packshot
Learning responsibility is a boyman thing for a cowbull, called Otis, in the funfun farmyard.
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Director: Steve Oedekerk

Writer: Steve Oedekerk

Starring: voices of Kevin James, Courteney Cox, Sam Elliot, Danny Glover, Wanda Sykes, Andie MacDowell, David Koechner, Jeffrey Garcia, Cam Clarke, Rob Paulsen, Tino Insana, Dom Irrera

Year: 2006

Runtime: 90 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: Germany/US


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