A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the "kids" in Barnyard: The Original Party Animals (i.e. Otis and his pals) aren't exactly role models. They gamble, steal, drink (milk, but it's portrayed as alcohol), joy-ride, and say words meant as profanities ("Oh, milk me!"). And when some mischievous boys go out "cow-tipping" at night (sneaking into pastures and tipping cows over while they're sleeping), Otis and his buddies take revenge by sneaking into the boy's room, tipping him out of bed, then laughing at him. Crude scenes involve farting, burping, and defecating. Also, the bulls in this movie are drawn with udders, a genetic impossibility unless you're in a Salvador Dali painting. Spoiler alert: There are some tense moments when Otis' father dies at the hands of murderous coyotes after his son ignores the elder cow's wisdom and goes off to party. A burial is held.
What's the story?
The animals in the BANYARD take a Vegas approach to life, i.e. what happens in the barnyard, stays in the barnyard...or...does it? When the lights go out in the farmer's house, that's the animals' cue to party down. The barn transforms into a nightclub, complete with gambling, a bar, music, dancing, and mechanical "man-ride". Enjoying every minute of fun is carefree bull Otis (Kevin James). But Otis' dad, Ben (Sam Elliott), and an old mule, Miles (Danny Glover), think he needs to be more discreet about the fact that animals are smarter than humans. Ben goes over the rules once again (all of which Otis breaks): 1) No swimming in the pool; 2) No watching TV through the farmhouse window; and 3) Standing on two legs is only permitted when humans are nowhere in sight. When Ben suddenly goes the way of all loving parents in family movies (he dies!), Otis finds himself in charge of the barnyard. Will he grow up and be a leader? Or will he use his newfound power for more tricks and cowfoolery?
Is it any good?
Compared to other CGI movies, the animation seems flat and the humor dated. Most of the jokes about humans' ill-conceived notions of the animal world seem lifted from Toy Story. And the "father dies leaving the kid in charge" storyline is straight out of The Lion King. Although Barnyard has a few funny moments (you can see them in the trailers), a little originality would have gone a long way.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Otis and his pals should have acted. Were they right to go out partying when their elders told them not to? How soon can kids start taking responsibility for their actions? Why is it important for kids to listen to their parents? And would Barnyard have had a different outcome if Otis had acted responsibly right from the beginning?
- In theaters: August 4, 2006
- On DVD or streaming: December 12, 2006
- Cast: Andie MacDowell, Courteney Cox, Danny Glover, Kevin James, Sam Elliott
- Director: Steve Oedekerk
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Horses and farm animals
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some mild peril and rude humor.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.