Barnyard: The Original Party Animals

Barnyard: The Original Party Animals
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Rated: PG
Cast: Kevin James, Courteney Cox Arquette, Danny Glover, Sam Elliott, Wanda Sykes
Director: Steve Oedekerk
WorkNameSort: Barnyard: The Original Party Animals
Our Rating: 2.00
Barnyard doesn't know if it wants to be another tiresomely 'hipâ?� piece of post-Shrek postmodernism or a comfortably traditional kids' movie that delivers family values without the self-conscious smirk. Writer-director Steve Oedekerk sticks his fast-talking, anthropomorphized critters in both milieus. Since he clearly lacks the knowing, clever humor of Shrek's satire, the only moments in Barnyard that work are, surprisingly, its Disneyfied sap. The central character is Otis the Cow (voiced by a stammering, unfunny Kevin James), the shiftless, hard-partying son of Ben (Sam Elliott), the leader of a wisecracking animal contingency that includes Duke the Dog (Dom Irrera), Etta the Hen (Andie McDowell) and Miles the Mule (Danny Glover). When Ben is mauled by a pack of villainous coyotes ' on Otis' neglectful watch ' his son has to finally come of age and take over as leader. The story follows every note of kids'-movie formula, right down to the death of a key parental figure a third of the way into the film, which is apparently the only way lessons can be learned in these things. The mourning sequences do pack some poignant pathos, and Otis' love interest, Daisy (Courteney Cox), is single and pregnant, indicating an always-welcome progressivism that's hardly evident elsewhere among the film's stereotypically ethnic animals. They're just a facet of Barnyard's totally uninspired humor, replete with dated references to COPS and Lord of the Dance.


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.