Friday, November 1, 2013

Free Birds Movie Review

Reggie (Owen Wilson) & Jake (Woody Harrelson) in Free Birds

A Thousand Pardons

Once a year, the President of the United States pardons a turkey for Thanksgiving. Once a year, I break down and see an animated film. Isn't it fitting that both events coincide this year by way of Relativity Media's Free Birds? Why anyone would want to know what a 45-year-old man thinks about a cartoon is beyond me; but I'll try my best to make this as painless as possible. Free Birds is cute, relatively harmless and yes... sleep inducing (you didn't think I was going to stay awake through the entire movie, did you?)

Rotten Tomatoes Plot: In this irreverent, hilarious, adventurous buddy comedy, directed by Jimmy Hayward (Horton Hears a Who!), two turkeys from opposite sides of the tracks must put aside their differences and team up to travel back in time to change the course of history - and get turkey off the holiday menu for good.

What’s Best: Really, you're still reading this review? If pressed, I imagine kids will dig the idea of talking turkeys, and the outcast (Owen Wilson's Reggie) becoming a hero/getting the girl (Amy Poehler's Jenny.) As for me, I laughed once... during a botched sound diversion, involving a boomerang bolt. Otherwise, it was pretty much smooth sailing clucking and gobbling.

What’s Not: I'm too old for cartoons; yet I have to wonder why filmmakers often feel the need to slip something "adult-themed" into a kid's movie. Here, it's the president's daughter alluding to an attractive, blonde Presidential assistant as, 'That's the girl who likes my daddy,' an obvious nod to Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. As for the rest of the movie? I suppose it doesn't bode well, that I fell asleep for 15-20 minutes: Perhaps if they served turkey burgers during the screening...

Best Line: Reggie's at his best while chilling out at Camp David, courtesy of an unexpected Presidential pardon. What more could you ask for besides, 'A warm bed, TV and all the pizza I (Reggie) could want.' That's a lot more positive than an early betrayal by Reggie's fellow turkeys, 'Give 'em Reggie. He's the anti-corn.' Who said life in a turkey coop was all fun and games?

Overall: You have to wonder who came up with the idea of two turkeys using a time machine to travel back in time to "get turkeys off the menu at the first Thanksgiving." Is Hollywood running out of ideas on how to entertain kids, or what? It's a hoot to hear George Takei's trademark "Oh my!" but not enough to hold an adult's interest for more than a minute or two. Wilson and Woody Harrelson form a good enough pair; but no one/nothing really stands out as memorable. Fine for a 90-minute babysitting session, but not much else.