Wilbur the pig is scared of the end of the season, because he knows that come that time, he will end up on the dinner table. He hatches a plan with Charlotte, a spider that lives in his pen, to ensure that this will never happen.
A young zebra is accidentally abandoned by the circus, but is found by a man and his daughter. On their farm, they are joined by an eclectic group of animals who eventually conspire to help the zebra cheat in order to win the Kentucky Open horse race.Written by
"Racing Stripes" is no thoroughbred, but no need for the humane killer either.
In the field of live-action talking animal movies, "Racing Stripes" is no "Babe." Nor is it "Stuart Little." It's more like a "Paulie" - meaning that it's no classic, and a bit predictable, but it's a perfectly entertaining little movie.
I saw the movie at a preview screening, and it opened with an announcement that this is the Official Movie for Red Nose Day 2005. In case you're wondering, Red Nose Day is an annual event held by the charity concern Comic Relief - plastic crimson schnozzles are often worn, hence the name. Fortunately, "Racing Stripes" was not actually made for charity, which is just as well given the low quality of a lot of things with good intentions behind them; the story of a little zebra taken in by Kentucky farmer/ex-champion horse trainer Bruce Greenwood and daughter Hayden Panetierre who grows up with the will to be a racehorse benefits from good voice acting (Frankie Muniz as our hero Stripes, Dustin Hoffman as the Shetland pony who trains him, Whoopi Goldberg as his goat best friend, Mandy Moore as Stripes' actual horse love interest - Mandy and Muniz also voiced animals in "Dr. Dolittle 2"; will they ever appear on screen as HUMANS? - and Fred Dalton Thompson as the arrogant champion stallion who wants the cup to remain in the family) and nice turns from the humans (Greenwood, M. Emmet Walsh, Wendie Malick as the closest the movie comes to a human villain, and budding babe Hayden).
The movie sometimes goes overboard with its comic characters - particularly a Mafia pelican voiced by Joe Pantoliano and a pair of flies done by Steve Harvey and David Spade - and not all the effects are that brilliant (and is it me, or is South Africa - where most of the movie was shot - less convincing at standing in for America than Australia or Canada?), but it's less sappy than it could have been and short of condescension. It won't change your life, but it's pleasant - and it does make sure you're cheering on the right animal in the big race.
But Bryan Adams? And STING?
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