The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle

on June 30, 2000 by Mike Kerrigan
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   So when you catch a "Rocky and Bullwinkle" rerun, who is the first major movie star who comes to mind? Bet it's not Robert De Niro. But that's just the person largely responsible for bringing the veteran cartoon duo to the bigscreen. Not only does he produce with Tribeca partner Jane Rosenthal but he essays a wonderfully campy Fearless Leader, complete with patent leather hair and dead-on accent. He even takes the mickey out of his Travis Bickle character in "Taxi Driver."

   Unfortunately, the overall movie is not as brilliant or edgy as De Niro. It is amiable enough and faithful to the original in that there are quiet chuckles for the grown ups and exciting visuals to keep the kids entertained. But the whole thing lacks the heroic leap to the bigscreen that could have made it a classic and a crossover financial hit.

   While the title characters remain cartoons--Rocky is still voiced by the legendary June Foray--Boris and Natasha become human as their boss tries to take over the world. He runs RBTV (for Real Bad Television) which doesn't seem any worse that most prime-time programming. Jason Alexander and Rene Russo nail their roles and really bring the drawings to life but the boundaries are pushed no further.

   Director Des McAnuff handles a big-budget complicated shoot and star-studded cast with great competence. Billed are Jonathan Winters, Carl Reiner, Janeane Garofalo and many others. Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg also appear but are not credited. McAnuff's last movie was the Jessica Lange starrer "Cousin Bette." From Balzac to Bullwinkle. Now that's heroic. Starring Rene Russo, Jason Alexander, Randy Quaid, Robert De Niro and Piper Perabo. Directed by Des McAnuff. Written by Ken Lonergan. Produced by Jane Rosenthal and Robert De Niro. A Universal release. Comedy. Rated PG for brief mild language. Running time 90 min

Tags: Rene Russo, Jason Alexander, Randy Quaid, Robert De Niro and Piper Perabo. Directed by Des McAnuff. Written by Ken Lonergan. Produced by Jane Rosenthal and Robert De Niro. A Universal release. Comedy, crossover, cartoons, faithful, chuckles, classic
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