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Stars: Voices: Kevin James, Courteney Cox, Sam Elliott, Andie MacDowell, Danny Glover

Director: Steve Oedekerk

Another in the current glut of animal cartoons, this is no better, nor much worse than the rest.

Ben (Elliott) is the boss bull of the barnyard, where the animals wait until the farmer has disappeared before talking, getting up on two feet and holding raves through the night.

Their only problem is the local coyotes, who are just waiting to move in and turn the hencoop into chicken casserole.

Ben's son, Otis (James) is a happy-go-lucky sort without a thought in his head, and therefore devastated to find himself in charge of the barnyard when Ben expires following an epic battle with coyote invaders.

Coyote leader Dag (David Koechner) is convinced Otis is a soft option. 'We show up, he tells him, 'you look the other way. That's the natural order of things.' But, of course, it isn't that straightforward.

Veering between the roistering and the ultra-sentimental, the film's rather basic computer animation takes some getting used to, but it's passably entertaining, with the coyotes taking the honours, as easily the best-drawn characters. The bulls have udders, apparently because the director thought it would be funny. We have news: he was wrong.

David Quinlan

USA 2006. UK Distributor: UIP (Nickelodeon). Colour by De Luxe.
89 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 14 Oct 2006