Home On The Range

The last of Disney's traditionally (rather than computer) animated films is a rootin' tootin' send-up of classic Westerns, with a generous helping of Looney Toons flair and wit. Prize-winning heifer Maggie (Roseanne Barr) is left homeless when her ranch is raided by mean-spirited cattle thief Alameda Slim (Randy Quaid), but she finds a new berth at the Patch...read more

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Reviewed by Angel Cohn
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The last of Disney's traditionally (rather than computer) animated films is a rootin' tootin' send-up of classic Westerns, with a generous helping of Looney Toons flair and wit. Prize-winning heifer Maggie (Roseanne Barr) is left homeless when her ranch is raided by mean-spirited cattle thief Alameda Slim (Randy Quaid), but she finds a new berth at the Patch of Heaven dairy. Though nominally run by grandmotherly Pearl (Carole Cook), the roost is truly ruled by bossy bovine Mrs. Caloway (Judi Dench), a prim and proper cow who's proud of her position of authority among the gaggle of assorted animals. She immediately disapproves of Maggie's uncouth proclivities, which incline to antics like teaching piglets to belch, but the ranch has far bigger problems. The local sheriff (Richard Riehle) and his cocky horse, Buck (Cuba Gooding Jr.), stop by to notify Pearl that her farm is going up for auction in three days time unless she can pay the $750 she owes the bank. Maggie and the dim-witted Grace (Jennifer Tilly) devise a plot to win cash at the state fair by showing off Patch of Heaven's high-class livestock and Mrs. Caloway, though annoyed that she couldn't come up with a better idea, reluctantly agrees to supervise their plan. They trot to town on a mission to persuade the sheriff to give them more time, but soon discover that the reward for Alameda Slim's capture is, coincidentally, exactly the amount needed to save their farm. Unfortunately, bounty hunter Rico (Charles Dennis) and Buck, who has ambitions beyond being a lowly lawman's horse, are also after the loot and give the three cows a run for their money. While it often has the antic look and feel of a Warner Brothers cartoon, the combination of this sweet-natured picture's fundamentally heartwarming story and long-time Disney composer Alan Menken's syrupy songs is sufficient to dispel any notions that Wile E. Coyote might be making a guest appearance. Although superficially an odd couple, the outspoken Barr and the restrained Dench work together surprisingly well and a steady stream of jokes aimed at both adults and kids keeps this genial entertainment galloping along at a brisk pace.

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