A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie has some peril (no one hurt) and mostly comic action sequences. A roller-coaster-ish ride may be too intense for the youngest children. The movie has brief crude humor, including a quick cross-dressing joke, and some mild language. Some children may be upset by the idea of having a bank foreclose a mortgage and might need to be reassured that their home is safe.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Maggie (voice of Roseanne Barr) is a brassy but warm-hearted cow who arrives at the Patch of Heaven Dairy Farm just as the bank is about to foreclose its mortgage and put it up for sale. Her previous farm was sold after cattle rustler Alameda Slim (voice of Randy Quaid) stole the rest of the herd. Mrs. Calloway (voice of Dame Judi Dench), the highly civilized alpha cow of Patch of Heaven, is offended by Maggie's brash wisecracks, but the other animals are more welcoming. When Maggie comes up with a plan to save the farm, Mrs. Calloway and gentle but tone-deaf Grace (voice of Jennifer Tilly) go along. They meet up with Buck (voice of Cuba Gooding, Jr.), a horse who wants to be a hero, and Lucky Jack, a peg-legged jackrabbit (voice of Charles Haid). The five animals will get in each other's way more often than they help each other, but there are moments of wit and heart and even a thrill or two, along with sparkling musical numbers from Disney's best contemporary composer, Alan Mencken (The Little Mermaid and Aladdin), sung by country stars k.d. lang, Tim McGraw, Bonnie Raitt, and The Bleu Sisters.
Is it any good?
I love it when Disney doesn't take itself too seriously; no one tried to reach for the stars or make this into a classic. HOME ON THE RANGE is just a cute little story about some not-so-contented cows who save the day. It modestly aspires to be nothing more than a lot of fun, and it does that job very well.
The style and music of the film harks back to Disney's 1950's featurettes like Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom, Donald in Mathmagic Land, and Pecos Bill. Pearl, the owner of the Patch of Heaven farm (voice of Carole Cook), could be Sluefoot Sue, thirty years later. The characters are vivid, the animation is superb, and the balance between sweet, silly, and exciting is expertly handled.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: April 2, 2004
- On DVD or streaming: September 14, 2004
- Cast: Judi Dench, Roseanne Barr, Steve Buscemi
- Director: Will Finn
- Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Horses and Farm Animals
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: brief mild rude humor
- Last updated: March 14, 2020
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