(out of 5)
In this mildly amusing animated film, a prize-winning cow with a boisterous personality (voiced by Roseanne Barr) is given up by her owner after an evil cattle rustler takes most of his livestock. The cow’s new home is a charming little farm called ‘Little Patch Of Heaven’, and on it live an assortment of pigs, hens, chicks, a goat and two very amiable cows: one a bossy duchess (Judi Dench) and one a sweetly daffy youngster (Jennifer Tilly). When they find out that the old lady who owns the farm and loves her animals like family is in danger of losing the place to bankruptcy, the three bovine bombshells set out on the road to save their home. Crossing the barren plains of the wild west, they go in search of Alameda Slim (Randy Quaid), the cattle rustler who ruined Roseanne’s ranch, in order to collect the reward money on his head and use it to pay off their farm’s debt. Naturally, while in search of adventure, they manage to find it, and are helped along by competition from an overly eager horse (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and a coldhearted bounty hounter. This adorably light entertainment, with its charming western vistas that remind one of Road Runner cartoons or the old Lucky Luke adventures of yesteryear, is one that’s sure to please the very young while moderately entertaining adults. Despite witty characters and some of the best voice casting that animation has ever had, there’s nothing particularly clever about either the dialogue or the plot that could help make it appealing to all generations. Surprisingly enough, Disney spent upwards of $100 million dollars on the project, a ridiculous sum considering there’s no indication anywhere that the film could possibly require such an astronomical budget. Alan Menken contributes to the slim score, one which features terrific performances by k.d. Lang and Bonnie Raitt. The film marks a moment in history for Disney Studios, who announced that it would be the last traditionally animated film they would ever release, after which they would switch solely to computer generated animation.
Story by Will Finn, John Sanford, Michael LaBash, Sam J. Levine, Mark Kennedy, Robert Lence, additional story by Keith Baxter, Mike Kunkel, Jason Lethcoe, Donnie Long, Brian Pimental, David Moses Pimentel, Ralph Zondag, Davy Liu, Screenplay by Will Finn, John Sanford
Produced by Alice Dewey Goldstone
Music by Alan Menken
Production Design by David Cutler
Film Editing by H. Lee Peterson