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Movie review

Stars and 'Stripes'

By BILLY NORRIS
Published January 17, 2005


photo
[Photo: Warner Bros.]
In Racing Stripes, Nolan Walsh (Bruce Greenwood), left, and his daughter, Channing (Hayden Panettiere), take in Stripes, an abandoned zebra.

Racing Stripes

RATING: PG for mild crude humor and some language

SUMMARY: Stripes (voice of Frankie Muniz), a zebra that was abandoned from the circus as a youngster, now lives with Nolan Walsh (Bruce Greenwood) and his daughter, Channing (Hayden Panettiere). Walsh was once a great horse trainer but quit after his wife died in a freak horse-racing accident. Stripes grows up thinking he is a horse, and longs to be a great racer. When Channing discovers Stripes' speed and willingness to race, it becomes a challenge to persuade her father to let her ride him in a big upcoming race, and to overcome the ridicule she receives from pouring so much effort into such an odd animal. At the same time, Stripes and his talking animal friends and foes are dealing with their own issues.

MY VIEW: The first thing that came to mind while viewing this film was 1995's smash hit, Babe, except this time, Babe is a zebra. We are once again presented with a kids (live-action) film loaded with a star-studded cast of voice talent, which adds a good amount of levity to the movie. Jeff Foxworthy voices a crazed chicken, David Spade is a fly, Whoopi Goldberg is a goat, and Dustin Hoffman is a miniature horse, among others. Even rapper Snoop Dogg turns up as the voice of - what else - a dog. Some of the humor falls completely flat, but some subtle yet hilarious adult-oriented jokes caught me completely off guard. Nothing makes this movie standout as exceptional, but it offers a good message about tolerance of differences. It is a decent family offering being released at a time when there aren't too many of those. The movie is cute, and that's about it.

RECOMMENDATIONS: Teenagers probably won't seek this one out, but if you're along for the ride with your family, this won't at all present an intolerable experience.

GRADE: C+

Billy Norris, 17, is in 11th grade at Seminole High School, and is a former member of the X-Team.

[Last modified January 14, 2005, 12:13:05]


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