Prayer Focus
Movie Review

Home On the Range

MPAA Rating: PG for brief mild rude humor

Reviewed by: Ed Cox

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Children and Families
Comedy, Musical, Kids Family and Animation
1 hr. 10 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
Featuring: Judi Dench, Cuba Gooding Jr., Randy Quaid, Sarah Jessica Parker, Steve Buscemi
Director: John Sanford, Will Finn (The Road to El Dorado)
Producer: Alice Dewey Goldstone
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures

The Patch of Heaven dairy farm is in danger.
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures
(above) Alameda Slim (voice of Randy Quaid) plots with Wesley (voice of Steve Buscemi), a shifty cattle broker.
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures
(above) A mysterious bounty hunter named Rico and his horse Buck in Walt Disney’s “Home on the Range”—2004.
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures
(above) Alameda Slim (voice of Randy Quaid) rustles cattle with his hypnotic yodel
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: Walt Disney Pictures’ rollicking animated musical-comedy brings the music of Oscar®-winning composer Alan Menken (“The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin,” etc.) to this colorfully wild and woolly tale. When a greedy outlaw named Alameda Slim (voiced by Randy Quaid) schemes to take possession of the “Patch of Heaven” dairy farm, three determined cows (voiced by Roseanne Barr, Judi Dench, and Jennifer Tilly), a karate-kicking stallion named Buck (voiced by Cuba Gooding Jr.), and a colorful corral of critters join forces to save the farm in a wild quest full of high-spirited adventure.

Braving bad men and the rugged western landscape, this unlikely assortment of animals risk their hides and match wits with a mysterious bounty hunter named Rico in a high stakes race to capture Slim and collect the reward money. Stylishly retro animation, hilarious action sequences and new songs performed by such stars as K.D. Lang, Bonnie Raitt and Tim McGraw.


It might be considered more of a musical than a comedy from the audience reaction to this one hour and ten minute offering. There are a number of musical numbers performed by a variety of artists, some current and nearly current. The set-up harkens back to the Disney formula of “Beauty and the Beast,” but without any serious toe-tapping offerings. The point of a comedy is to laugh—a musical, to want to sing along. Neither of these objectives was achieved with “Home on the Range.”

The moral fabric of the movie is no better or worse than what you might expect from the churning at Disney (Disney without Pixar, that is). Each character begins wrapped in self, finding at the end of the movie that teamwork can bring about the desired change where individuals would have failed.

The story centers on the issue of revenge and is the driver of the main character throughout the film. Maggie (Rosan Barr) has seen her life changed by rustler Alameda Slim (Randy Quaid) who relieved her previous cattle ranch of its cattle. This event changed her life and now drives her to seek revenge on her transgressor. This issue of exacting an eye for an eye is something the secular worldview has readily adopted, so you won’t see anything new here (certainly nothing a child can’t be involved with), but it certainly raises the issue for family discussion.

There is a character (Lucky Jack, a rabbit) who is introduced as a “shaman.” While offered as a spiritual guide for about 10 seconds, he quickly becomes one of the ganging seeking to join the adventure and serves only as a local guide for the group (the movie’s Web site pushes him as the “shaman, chef, chief cook and bottle washer”).

A couple of side-bar characters (steers in a separate cattle drive) are a recurring story add-on in the movie. Their references and interests come across as more leering (than pure romantic interest) than is really necessary for a children’s cartoon. This observation comes from my two daughters, not adult eyes, so realize this attitude is obvious to all in attendance.

Along the same note, the issue of “diversity” is introduced briefly in the form of a buffalo that finds the main cow characters attractive as well. I may be digging a little deep here for things to prepare you for, but these issues are there, so be advised for your viewing choices and preparation.

Except for the chatter from the young children in the theater, the public viewing I attended was strangely quiet; the young children were talking, but not about the movie. In a typical kid’s movie, there are jokes laid out for the kids and jokes for the adults (who pay for the tickets). There were only two places where the audience reacted as a group and both times the “joke” was a belch. One daughter stated that the movie used “last century’s jokes” as a script. They scored the movie as a 5 out of 10 (and these are pretty forgiving young movie reviewers).

Pay the matinee price if it’s raining and the house is already clean. No new ground is broken, no innovations are offered. “Home on the Range” is a grade-B Saturday movie to MAYBE see one time and forget about. If you are starved for a movie choice for the kids, you, of course, could do a lot worse—you might want to consider taking the same money, buying “Finding Nemo,” cuddle on the couch and talk after about how parental love mirrors Christ’s love for us.

Violence: Minor | Profanity: None | Sex/Nudity: None

Viewer Comments
Positive—This is an excellent movie for the family, and I couldn’t recommend it any more highly. The cows are adorable (Grace was my favorite). I do not understand why the movie received a “PG” rating; there was not any real violence to note or bad language. Children (parents, too!) will find this highly entertaining. The emphasis is on the importance of keeping a family together and the value of friendship. Go see this and prove Disney management wrong, as this is the last “traditional cel animated” movie that they are producing… very sad. Show them that the public still loves these types of movies!
My Ratings: [Excellent!/4½]
—Susan, age 26
Positive—I thoroughly enjoyed this Disney moovie and would recommend it for the entire family. It would definitely provide the opportunity to discuss the importance of friendships in our daily lives. The cows were adorable, as were the rest of the farm animals. This film also showed how a “bad guy” (in this case a “misguided” horse) could turn his life around and become a “good guy.”
My Ratings: [Excellent!/4½]
—Carolyn, age 54
Negative—The trailers show a cow with the voice of Roseanne Barr. She says “What are you looking at, yes they’re real.” The camera then focuses on her udders! Based on that one line, I will not take my kids.
—Kelly Toth, age 32
Neutral—This movie was very cute. My ten year old really enjoyed, however my 11 year old and 16 year old were bored. It is truly a movie for small children. It does have a few “Rosanne” type comments, they went right over my 10 year olds head though. I would recommend the movie for small children, but adults may be a little sleepy with this one.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/3]
—Laura Helmon, age 34
Neutral—…a cute movie, but it something that my family will probably not add to our collection. The only thing I found a little objectionable was the reference to the “Yes, they’re real” udders. There were some cute scenes, but not as entertaining as other Disney movies. If you want an activity for a rainy day, see this movie, otherwise, save your money for a better film.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/2½]
—Colby Inzer, age 28
Neutral—I’m not sure what to say about the movie. It was questionable on some of the attempts at “sexual” humor. Nothing really to write home about… My child kind of got bored with the movie.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/3]
—Chris McCaig, age 33
Positive—This movie was fine in content for a rainy day with my 3 and 5 year old. The “udders” comment went straight over their head…
My Ratings: [Better than Average/3]
—Kimm Friedemann, age 37
Positive—I took my girls, ages 3 ½ and 7 to see this movie over their spring break. It was the first theater movie for my 3½ yo. Both my children enjoyed the movie as did I. I had forgotten about the “udder” comment in the movie until I read it in previous reviews. My girls didn’t even catch it. Overall, I thought this was a good movie. It’s not one of Disney’s best, but it was good. Aside from the “udder” joke, I don’t remember anything objectionable about the movie. It’s not one I’ll buy when it’s released on video/DVD, but I’d probably rent it for a rainy day.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/3½]
—Lee, age 34
Neutral—A rather boring Disney romp. The animation is flat like “The Emperor’s New Groove,” but it doesn’t have the same sense of fun as the latter. It just seems rather long and tedious. There are a few jokes for adults, but I don’t think little kids would get them anyway. I think this movie is fine for anyone who wants to see it… but why would they want to?
My Ratings: [Better than Average/2½]
Negative—Many viewers have commented on the “udder” innuendo, but be aware that sexual innuendos are not hit and miss in this movie… they are scattered throughout. Two (of the many) very perverted cows are shouted at to take a “cold shower”; blondes are stereotyped as not only dingy, but easy; Roseanne Bar’s cow, Maggie, is a “show” cow; men at the saloon are watching female dancers with cleavage oozing in brothel-style dress; “Maggie” comments that if the saloon were the sheriff’s office, that town would “rock”; etc, etc! Sadly, as in so many chidren’s movies, characters are also extremely sarcastic and cut-downs abound… these things come naturally enough to kids without anyone modeling it! There are few Biblical attributes to glean from this movie, and they receive very little time or attention in the film. Especially in light of the fact that this was a children’s cartoon (and with such a seemingly innocent farm theme), I find this type of content appalling. Even aside from all of this, the quality of the movie was pretty slim pickin’s! (See the other viewer comments on this point.) Set a higher standard for your kids, and don’t even borrow it!
My Ratings: [Very Offensive/2½]
—Dana, age 32
Neutral—A poorly animated flick with little substance and even less humor. If your kids want to see it, fine, let them, it’s no big deal, but I wouldn’t pay money to see it again.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/1½]
—Dana, age 19

Comments from young people
Negative—I agree with my older sister, Adison, that this movie was not funny. Yes, I did fill in the silence and say that I liked it, but I really didn’t. I am glad we don’t plan on buying it because I don’t want to watch it again.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/1]
—Lorraine, age 10
Positive—I really enjoyed this movie, It was cute, and I found nothing offensive, just some dumb parts like the willies, the little dumby guys that help the bad guy, The bad guy (Slim) talks to them rudely, however, he *is* the bad guy, so it wasn’t offensive. Lots of people have said that it is directed at young children, I see it as being directed at children, yes, but *young* children? I don’t know, some parts might be slightly scary like, the “bad guy scenes” for instance, there is a part where he hypnotizes the cows, and that should be discussed, and some scary parts where the bad guy yells loudly. If I were a 4 y/o, I would probably be scared. I would say it is directed at children aged 6-12. I thought it was fun, and I think adults could enjoy it too, from one point of view. There isn’t really a moral, but its not bad, just fun.
My Ratings: [Good/4]
—Sheila, age 12
Neutral—This movie was on the whole fairly good… it was mainly for younger kids. The part about the “yes they’re real. Quit staring” was so brief that it went over my head even until I was reading the review later. I’d say this is more of a rent once when it comes out on video but don’t waste money in the theater because only the little kids will like it anyway.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/3½]
—Luke S., age 16
Negative—My family and I were out spending the day together when we saw this film. My parents and I weren’t really in the mood to see it, but my younger brother and sister were excited and we all thought a movie would be a great way to spend a family day out. We were so mistaken. My mother got up after about five minutes and walked the mall. I wished I had gone with her. I was ready to leave after two minutes. I did all I could to give this movie a shot, but I have to be honest. It stunk. There were no funny parts. To many things were going on at once and you had no time to catch up. The movie dragged on for what seemed like hours. When it finally ended, I did my best not to run out of the theaters. When my mother asked how the movie went, my father and I couldn’t say anything. Thankfully, my younger brother and sister were sweet enough to fill in the silence. They claimed to like the film, however we know that they didn’t. I would not suggest seeing this movie. If you must help your curiosity, then I would suggest you rent it, or even better don’t waste the money, just borrow it.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/1]
—Adison, age 14
Positive—I’ve seen it in theaters and on DVD, and it was hilarious! The cows were funny, especially Maggie. She’s a crack up. I’m glad Roseanne Barr played Maggie. I like to thank Will Finn and Jhon Sandford for creating this last movie, and I’m glad Jhon hired Roseanne to play Maggi. I give it a 1000000%!!
My Ratings: [Excellent/5]
—Breana Perkins, age 13
Movie Critics
…pleasant animated musical western with positive moral values…
—Dr. Ted Baehr, Movieguide
…cute and funny… impressive array of vocal talent… not extraordinary enough to be deemed an instant classic…
—Associated Press
…somewhat appealing plot… keeps milking the same gags and throwing the same bull…
—Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune
…Filled with rollicking songs… doesn’t stray far from the predictable plot …the barnyard babies and other livestock will still likely appeal to younger audiences…
—Kerry Bennett, Grading the Movies
…udderly ignorable…
—E! Online
…there isn’t enough to fill the film’s 75 minutes… tries for silly humor but rarely succeeds at laughs…
—Gerry Shamray, Sun Newspapers of Cleveland