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Free Birds

Movie Details

Free Birds
  • Genre: Animation, Comedy
  • Release Date: 2013-11-01 Nationwide
  • Running Time: 90 min.
  • Director: Jimmy Hayward
  • Cast: Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson, Amy Poehler, Dan Fogler, Lesley Nicol, George Takei, Colm Meaney, Keith David, Eddie "Piolin" Sotelo
  • Producers: Scott Mosier, Craig Mazin, John Strauss, David I. Stern
  • Writers: Craig Mazin, David I. Stern
  • Distributor: Relativity Media
  • Official Site: Free Birds Official Site

Free Birds, an animated wingding from director Jimmy Hayward (Horton Hears a Who!), offers a vision of a kinder, gentler Thanksgiving. Reggie (voiced by Owen Wilson) is a young turkey with a higher-than-average IQ, which means he knows his days are numbered. But Reggie sees a way out when the President comes through town to pardon one lucky turkey. (As voiced by Hayward, he's a Bill Clinton sound-alike with a cheerful corndog drawl.) Reggie is lucky enough to be the chosen bird, and he's whisked off to Camp David, where he's introduced to the pleasures of TV and pizza delivery. No turkey ever had it so good. But fate intervenes in the form of a bigger, more ambitious turkey named Jake (Woody Harrelson), who urges the reluctant Reggie to travel back in time and alter mankind's holiday-eating habits. Via a giant talking space egg named S.T.E.V.E. (that stands for Space Time Exploration Vehicle Envoy, and its voice belongs to George Takei), they whiz back to Plymouth circa 1621, where they try to destroy the gunpowder stash of Myles Standish (Colm Meaney) to keep turkeykind safe from his muskets. Their plan goes awry, and they're saved by a plucky girl-turkey named Jenny (Amy Poehler). She serves as Reggie's love interest, though she's also destined for great things within her own turkey tribe. Free Birds is so unhinged that it could almost work. It doesn't, at least not after Reggie leaves the comfort of Camp David behind. Like so many animated features these days, Free Birds tries to pack too much in; the picture feels cramped and cluttered, and, despite its occasionally manic action, it moves as slowly as a fattened bird waddling toward its doom.

Stephanie Zacharek

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