Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Barnyard: The Original Party Animals

Illustration for article titled Barnyard: The Original Party Animals


• Slapping cheap animation, cheap jokes, and cheap pathos into a deadly dull movie about anthropomorphic farm animals, then adding gorgeous backgrounds that make everything else look even uglier


• Putting udders on all the bulls

• More to the point, being the kind of brain-dead film that would come from people who think udders are the height of hilarity

Defenders: Writer-director Steve Oedekerk, producer Paul Marshal, production designer Philip A. Cruden, animation designer Todd Grimes, animation supervisor T.J. Sullivan, and texture supervisor Dimitri Joannides, whose last name sparks a lot of mockery.

Tone of commentary: Chaotic, flighty. Everyone speaks over everyone else, and the topic jumps wildly, but usually at least three people are echoing the same opinion over each other, or riffing weak jokes about whatever was last said.

What went wrong: Budget limitations were a concern—when a pair of pizza-deliverers show up, it's the same guy twice, to save money. And there were a number of technical glitches, which cause the commentators to giggle hysterically, blame each other, and mock-apologize. But just as often, they praise themselves over how well virtually every dumb joke and image came out.

Comments on the cast: A couple of cast members get name-checked or called "amazing," but the CGI textures on inanimate objects get 10 times the attention.


Inevitable dash of pretension: Oedekerk praises the lame plot twists immoderately but without depth, saying for instance that when the irresponsible protagonist inevitably grows up a little, "it works on all levels." (What levels?)

Commentary in a nutshell: As everyone babbles about how audiences were upset over one character's death, Oedekerk suddenly says "I'm going to kill one of you when we're done here." The incoherent overlapping response: "Dramatic purposes?" "Steve's very consistent." "Give me a hint?" "You'll be sorely missed, because we all like you that much." "I vote for Phil. Finally." "Who will be?" "That clears me, at least. Thank goodness." Oedekerk: "I'm going to beat one of you with another one of you. It'll be collaborative in some fashion."