A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that A Pony Tale (also known as A Talking Pony?!?) is another family-friendly film about talking animals from director David DeCouteau. As with its predecessor A Talking Cat?!?, the movie features DeCouteau's signature cheesy dialogue, talking animals that don't really impress, and awkward scene transitions and recycled footage. Although it may not be the best film, it does have a positive message about the importance of family and nature. And, with only moderate references to adult relationships and teen crushes, one reference to alcohol, and some slight slapstick violence, the film is totally appropriate for young tweens and up.
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What's the story?
A PONY TALE is a clean family film about a young girl trying to save her family's ranch from foreclosure. After getting hit on the head by a falling horseshoe, Juliet (Jenny Cipolla) is able to hear her horse Horatio (voiced by Johnny Witaker) talk. Although Juliet's stepmother tries to convince the scheming Mr. Beetle that the ranch shouldn't be turned into a shopping mall, Juliet tries to convince Mr. Beetle's cute son Wesley that Horatio can really talk. Mr. Beetle's visit gives everyone a chance to evaluate how important the ranch is to Juliet's family and how important nature and animals are to everyone.
Is it any good?
If you're looking for a feel-good talking-horse movie, A Pony Tale shouldn't be your first choice. It's a clumsy, awkward film that will probably get boring for even young viewers pretty fast. There's really only about 30 minutes worth of story line in the movie, but it's stretched to over an hour with the addition of random shots of the scenery between every scene. The dialogue is incredibly bad, the plot is minimal, and the talking horse is surprisingly unexciting. The DVD cover also is confusing since at some point the name was changed and a different girl is shown on the cover than is shown in the actual film.
Kids looking for a talking-animal film probably will be disappointed in the lack of screen time for Horatio, who really just stands around and "tells" bad jokes (though, unlike Mr. Ed, his mouth doesn't actually move, so it's surprisingly unengaging). And although there are some mildly funny hijinks performed by Juliet's stepbrothers, much of the film is Juliet's stepmother and Mr. Beetle discussing his personal problems and the plight of the ranch, which will bore most kids. Parents may appreciate the positive message and may be amused by how horribly bad the movie is, but the novelty of both probably will wear off pretty fast.
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