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Barnyard - The Original Party Animals

A movie directed by Steve Oedekerk

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Decent Enough For Kids, Adults May Not Get Past The Goofiness

  • Apr 25, 2013
If you could go back to 2006, you’d find yourself smack dab in the middle of the talking animal computer generated feature film era.  Blue Sky was riding high on the Ice Age films, DreamWorks had Madagascar & Over the Hedge, Sony had Open Season and even Disney wanted in with The Wild.  Nickelodeon/ Paramount Pictures wanted in on the action and that leads us to Barnyard- The Original Party Animals.
I suppose the only way to begin this review is to come out with the cold hard facts- compiling all of the major critical reviews of this piece around the web results in a very underwhelming 2-star average.   Naturally this would lead you to suspect the film is an absolute abomination when in fact it’s not nearly as bad as many CG features on the market these days (namely those foreign films that are dubbed in English and dropped on our doorstep as something new).  In fact, the film was considered successful enough for Nickelodeon to warrant 52-episodes of the spin-off series Back at the Barnyard (2007-2011).  It should also be noted that while it faired poorly with critics, it was considered quite a success financially having cost less than $51-million to produce but raking in over $116.5 million worldwide.
The film comes in at a runtime of 90 minutes and wears an appropriate PG rating due to some comic peril, cartoony violence and the usual mischief one would expect from Nickelodeon.
The concept here works on the principle that when the kind-hearted vegan farmer goes to bed at night, the docile barnyard turns into a full fledge society onto itself with animals popping up on their hind legs, talking, singing, dancing and in many cases, causing extreme mischief (let’s just say they bring a new definition to the concept of grand theft auto before this one’s over).
The film follows Ben (Sam Elliot), a broad shouldered, soft spoken bull (oddly enough with a big ol plunger-looking udder) attempting to teach his son Otis (Kevin James) the responsibility that comes with guarding the barnyard from threats like coyote.   Otis, however, is busy surrounding himself with other party animals; goofing off, dancing and essentially being Kevin James.  It’s much publicized but still worth mentioning- all of the male cows have utters for whatever reason here.  You identify females by a bow on their head.  Biology teachers the world over must love this one.
Anyway, along the way there are a surprising number of song and dance routines, not the least of which include James (Otis) belting out a number of his own and some involving an odd living hairball who occasionally pops out of a crate to turn the entire barn into a techno dancehall.
Amidst all that partying enters Daisy (Courtney Cox), a pregnant refugee cow who apparently lost her husband to a storm to serve as Otis’ love interest.   When Ben meets his match attempting to defend the farm from a marauding band of coyotes led by Dag (David Koechner), Otis suddenly finds himself inheriting his father’s responsibility whether he’s ready for it or not.  And I’ll give you a hint- he’s not.
About the biggest problem here stems from the fact that any laughter comes from the movie’s absurdity and not its comedy or cleverness (despite some genuinely funny set ups like the neurotic neighbor lady and her cynical beer swilling husband).  Kids will surely delight in the endless silliness and on-screen gags aplenty but the adults are going to have to trudge along without the benefit of some nice Pixar or DreamWorks layered depth.
Visually the film wasn’t exactly cutting edge, even back in 06 with a style that’s eerily reminiscent of Jim Davis’ comic strip US Acres.  The textures are colorful and crisp however even of the character models maintain a certain degree of pudgy “roundness”.
In all, Barnyard has lived up to the expectations of many by essentially fading into oblivion in the highly competitive industry that is the CG-animated film business but that’s not to say it doesn’t have a bit of charm should you or yours find it in a discount bin while getting groceries.
Decent Enough For Kids, Adults May Not Get Past The Goofiness Decent Enough For Kids, Adults May Not Get Past The Goofiness Decent Enough For Kids, Adults May Not Get Past The Goofiness Decent Enough For Kids, Adults May Not Get Past The Goofiness Decent Enough For Kids, Adults May Not Get Past The Goofiness

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December 09, 2013
I actually loved this one.
More Barnyard - The Original Party ... reviews
review by . February 09, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
The first thing you need to know about BARNYARD all the cows in the movie have udders, including the males. That's right, even the bulls have udders (except for the bull that rides the man-riding machine--he's the only male cow who even looks like a bull). Director Steve Oedekerk has said that he wanted all the cows, even the males, to have udders because he thought it was incredibly funny. The idea is kind of humorous, but after a moment the juvenile joke loses its humor and the gag seems incredibly …
review by . February 08, 2007
The kids enjoyed this and I guess that's all that matters. To me this film at times feels like it was made by the Farrelly Brothers. It's slapstick humor and it's wildly nutty behavior that makes it look like an R-rated comedy, makes it all the while more funny The story is sort of like a parody of Lion King. Farmers on a farm are keeping animals under their eye and well protected. And animals pretty much behave like, well, animals. But what happens when the farmers out. Well, the party begins, …
review by . December 14, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
Apart from borrowing liberally from the basic premise of the Lion King (an orphaned cow goes from party animal to protector, that even includes a pivotal scene when the father paints the child's destiny in the stars), this film attempts to be about fathers and sons, but the filmmakers appear to have been uneasy with a literal depiction of male bovines (i.e. bulls). So they compromised by making even the males into cows (they even called themselves cows), complete with udders and absent other distinguishing …
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Ranked #10
Jason Rider (AKA OneNeo on is the author of the successful children's fantasy novel series The Uncommon Adventures of Tucker O'Doyle from Bellissima Publishing.      … more
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When the farmer's back is turned, the animals party down inBarnyard. A young cow named Otis (voiced by Kevin James,The King of Queens) loves to have fun at the farm's wild late-night hoe-downs, despite the disapproval of his father, Ben (Sam Elliott,Thank You for Smoking). When Ben dies defending the barnyard from marauding coyotes, Otis is chosen as the new leader--but responsibility sits uneasily on Otis' head and he fears he may not be able to protect his friends from the coyotes.Barnyard's design of the cows seems inspired by Gary Larson'sThe Far Sidecomics; though the style is simple, the characters are surprisingly expressive. From moment to moment, the movie is reasonably entertaining. The actors--including Courteney Cox, Danny Glover, and David Koechner (Anchorman) as a very menacing coyote--do solid voice work and there are plenty of amusing gags. But asBarnyardgallops towards its end, the combination of cliches (the story is a clumsy reworking ofThe Lion King), odd choices (the male cows have udders), and lackluster dialogue makes the movie sag.--Bret Fetzer
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Director: Steve Oedekerk
Screen Writer: Steve Oedekerk
DVD Release Date: December 12, 2006
Runtime: 90 minutes
Studio: Paramount
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