on August 04, 2006 by Tim Cogshell
Nickelodeon, a notable brand in children's television, has made quite a name for itself in feature films, particularly with adaptations of its many family-friendly cable series ("Rugrats," etc.). "Barnyard" is a Nickelodeon movie in the sense that it's irreverent but grounded in stalwart family values. However, if one looks closely, there's something else scratching around the hen-house. Beyond the usual messages about responsibility, family and all of that stuff, buried beneath the cleanly animated anthropomorphized chickens and cows, lies a right-wing agenda as virulent as the Protocols of Zion. But the musical numbers are lively.

Otis (voiced by Kevin James) is a young cow just trying to have fun, who's not really caught up in the politics of the barnyard. His dad, Ben (Sam Elliott), is the head cow-in-charge, watching over all the other animals, protecting them from the evil commies... or coyotes, whose leader just happens to be red. Ben is always telling Otis that a good man stands up for himself, but a great man stands up for others. This line could have been taken directly from George W. Bush's pre-war invasion speech. Otis could be George W. Bush, and Ben, Bush Sr.; the barnyard is the Middle East; the hens represent the oil wealth; and the humans are the ineffectual United Nations! Or... perhaps it's all just a mediocre cartoon about talking barnyard animals. Whichever. Voices by Kevin James, Courteney Cox, Sam Elliott, Danny Glover, Wanda Sykes, Andie MacDowell and David Koechner. Directed and written by Steve Oedekerk. Produced by Steve Oedekerk and Paul Marshal. A Paramount release. Animated comedy. Rated PG for some mild peril and rude humor. Running time: 90 min

Tags: Kevin James, Courteney Cox, Sam Elliott, Danny Glover, Wanda Sykes, Andie MacDowell, David Koechner, Steve Oedekerk, Paul Marshal, Paramount, Animated Comedy, humor, family, Nickelodeon

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