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Racing Stripes
2005 - PG - 84 Mins.
Director: Frederick DuChau
Producer: Andrew Kosove
Written By: David Schmidt, Kirk DeMicco, Frederick DuChau
Starring: Hayden Panettiere, Bruce Greenwood, Frankie Muniz, Mandy Moore, Dustin Hoffman, Joe Pantoliano, Snoop Dogg, David Spade, Steve Harvey, Whoopi Goldberg, Jeff Foxworthy
Review by: Joe Rickey
Official Site: www.racingstripesmovie.com
   
A precocious young girl (Hayden Panettiere) and her stern father (Bruce Greenwood) come upon an abandoned zebra (voiced by Frankie Muniz) while tending to their farm homestead. The daughter proceeds to convince stern father to allow her to keep the animal, which she decides to turn into a top-flight race horse, despite the fact that it isn’t a horse in the first place. The film also features a varied voice cast featuring the likes of David Spade and Steve Harvey as a pair of jive-talking flies, Mandy Moore as a female horse that becomes a love interest for our striped hero, Snoop Dogg as a dog (naturally), Joe Pantoliano as a gangster pelican, and Dustin Hoffman voicing a steed.

A gag-inducing level of cuteness and cotton candy comedy overwhelms ‘Racing Stripes’, an utterly predictable combination of ‘Seabiscuit,’ ‘Rocky,’ and ‘Babe’ that is one of the few kid-oriented films that is likely to appeal to (and only to) children as their parents and other adults are sure to find the film to be consistently juvenile and otherwise unappetizing.

First and foremost among the problems with this Frederick DuChau-directed film is the fact that the film is slow-moving, absolutely inexcusable given the 84-minute length of the picture. Pacing is such a key component in constructing any film that it is quite a shame that even a film that contains such a simple and straightforward storyline as ‘Racing Stripes’ suffers from more apparent moments of inaction and pointlessness than the nearly 3-hour long Martin Scorsese film ‘The Aviator.’ One would think that the shorter the film, the less lagging present, but ‘Racing Stripes’ is proof positive that such a presumption does not always hold true.

Frederick DuChau and the cadre of screenwriters seem at a loss at how to keep the film moving at a brisk pace, even going as far as to invent the aforementioned CGI flies that exist merely as a time-stalling machination, and an annoying machination at that. Speaking of which, Spade and Harvey do their best with what they’re given. Unfortunately, all the talent in the world couldn’t improve their material, which, predictably, is of the toilet humor variety.

The rest of the voice cast are also underwhelming, illustrating that name value means nothing when it comes to voice acting. Robin Williams is easily the best voice actor there is and let’s just say that no one here even begins to approach his level. Hoffman, Moore, Muniz, Pantoliano and Dogg are uniformly bland, phoning in their performances with little excitement. As for the human side of the equation, Greenwood seems to be bored much of the time, cashing a paycheck. Panettiere is fine but she too seems like she would rather be anywhere at times.

One would be better off viewing any of the aforementioned inspirations (‘Rocky,’ ‘Seabiscuit,’ ‘Babe’) over the tired and well-worn act of filmic desperation that is ‘Racing Stripes.’
 
Movie Guru Rating
A train wreck.  So bad some may find it unintentionally entertaining.
  1 out of 5 stars

 
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