In `Range,' Disney creates a funny farm

Famous voices from Barr to Dench add wit and charm

MovieReview

April 02, 2004|By Roger Moore | Roger Moore,ORLANDO SENTINEL

SUN SCORE

**1/2

Disney gets back to the basics with Home on the Range, where the characters are cute, the tunes are knee-slappers and the gags are almost as big as the West. With Randy Quaid as a yodeling cattle rustler and Roseanne Barr as a cow out to foil him, how could they go wrong?

It's a stitch, from the cowboy chorale title tune to Roseanne Barr, voicing the milk cow Maggie, bragging about her udders. ("Yeah, they're real. Stop staring.") This is Disney with a hint of Pixar's comic edge.

But if it is the last Disney hand-drawn 2-D cartoon for a long while, that'll be a pity. Because with drab layout and coloring, it's not much to look at.

Maggie the cow's farm has been sold to a land baron, but rather than send her to the Beef People, her owner drops her off at the Patch of Heaven farm. Maggie tries to fit in with the locals, ruled over by the cows Mrs. Caloway (Judi Dench) and Grace (Jennifer Tilly, very funny), Rusty the dog (G.W. Bailey) and Jeb the goat, who looks for the evil in every good deed.

Buck the horse (Cuba Gooding Jr.) wants to be a hero stallion, transporting the bounty hunter Rico to his latest capture, Alameda Slim, the yodeling Pied Piper who leads cattle into his secret lair.

With the Patch of Heaven mortgage due, Maggie also resolves to capture Slim, collect the reward and save the farm.

Range is funny. Still, looking like it does, nobody's going to call this a Disney classic.

The Orlando Sentinel is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

Home on the Range

Starring the voices of Roseanne Barr, Randy Quaid, Judi Dench, Cuba Gooding Jr.

Directed by Will Finn and John Sanford

Rated PG (mild rude humor)

Released by Disney

Time 77 minutes

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