Reviewed by: Patty Moliterno
|Featuring:||Kevin James (voice), Courteney Cox-Arquette (voice), Danny Glover (voice), Sam Elliott (voice), Wanda Sykes (voice), Andie MacDowell (voice)|
|Producer:||Mark Beam, Nicholisa Contis, Andrew Egiziano, Albie Hecht, Paul Marshal, Steve Oedekerk, Aaron Parry, Julia Pistor|
“What happens in the barn stays in the barn”
“Barnyard” is a tale about what happens with the animals when no one is looking. This movie begins with Ben (Sam Elliott), the leader of the barnyard, announcing a meeting in the barn. Ben protects the barnyard and feels a personal responsibility for the animals within the gates. As he roams the barnyard announcing the meeting, he is looking for his son Otis (Kevin James). Otis is off surfing down a hill, and “arrives” after the meeting has already started. Otis seems to think that life is one big party and isn’t interested in the things his father feels are important.
As Otis and Ben discuss Otis taking over the responsibilities of the barnyard, Otis exclaims that “everyman is for himself.” Ben states that “A strong man stands up for himself; a stronger man stands up for others.” However, Otis continues his partying ways with his friends.
Eventually, Otis is forced to take over and even then he is resistant to change his ways. After some of the chickens are abducted, Otis learns the lessons his father had been trying to teach him.
When this movie began, I had such a hard time getting past the fact that all the cows, both male and female, had udders. These cows also drank milk. This is a pet peeve of mine. I didn’t expect anatomically correct animals in this film, but would it have been so difficult to omit the udders from the male cows.
This movie was rated PG. Although, there was no foul language, there were a few implied comments. There is a comment about “an extra hoof right up your…” The word is never said. Another comment is made about an animal licking themselves and the comeback made is, “I can’t even reach mine.” At one point a policeman makes a comment “Nothing a strip search won’t cure.” The Tom Petty song, “I Won’t Back Down” is sung with the lyrics “standing at the gates of hell.” There were many other songs and sometimes it was difficult to clearly make out what was being said.
There is little sexual content. In a bar scene with humans there is a very brief flash of a women with cleavage showing. In another scene, a boy is shown with his pants slipping very low in the back. Otis has a love interest; Daisy (Courtney Cox) is a pregnant cow who comes to live in the barnyard after her husband was killed.
There is some mild violence in this movie. The coyotes are mean-looking and could be frightening to some children. I watched my younger boys (4 and 2), and their reaction to the coyotes and the fighting between the coyotes and the other animals. Neither one seemed to be bothered by this, but clearly the coyotes are sinister and dark. In one scene, the coyotes attack Ben and kill him, in another scene they surround Otis, and there is a final fight scene with the coyotes in their home environment (junkyard). Whenever the coyotes are around, there is a definite sense of evil. (My favorite character was Miles (Danny Glover) a barnyard mule. His character was cast perfectly.) Miles kicks the farmer repeatedly to keep him knocked out.
The cows are portrayed as teens, and they act out normal (by the world’s standard) behavior. They hot wire and steal a car, they go kid-tipping (the cows tip over a kid), and there is a scene with a high speed chase. They have almost continuous parties with loud music, drinking beverages out of kegs (milk), playing cards and dice, and there is a scene where the crowd eggs Otis on to perform, similar to what you would expect at a frat party.
Overall, this movie was cute and you could find many moral messages to talk to your kids about such as standing up for others, dangers of reckless partying, going along with your friends when they are doing wrong, and accepting responsibility, But I believe the most important message you can take from this film is regarding God’s protection. When Ben talks to Otis about protecting the barnyard, he states “No animal will be injured within the barnyard gates.” He sits watch by the fence. Now salvation doesn’t come from staying within the boundaries, but from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. However, if we walk within the boundaries of God’s law, we are offered protection. I am not a legalistic person, but I do know that trouble can be avoided if we live by the Ten Commandments. This is God’s fence He has set up to protect us physically, spiritually and emotionally.
This movie started off so slow I had to force myself to stay awake even though I attended a matinee. About 20 minutes into the film, my husband asked me if this was supposed to be funny. It was shortly after that point that the movie picked up speed and laughs. When polling my family after the movie, my 18 year old son said the movie was okay, my 16 year old son said he didn’t really like it, my 12 year old daughter said it was good, and my 4 year old son said he really liked it. This movie has the feel of many Nickelodeon TV shows. I left feeling like I had watched Jimmy Neutron visits the farm.
Obviously, this movie was aimed at younger audiences, and the 12 and under crowd will love it.
Violence: Mild / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Minor