Plot: A rat named Remy dreams of becoming a chef, and when he washes up in Paris, he has a chance. The problem, of course, is that humans don’t care for rats, much less ones that have been touching their food. An unlikely friendship forms when a bumbling trash boy named Linguini wants to work for a famous five-star restaurant, and together Remy and Linguini attempt to make an impression and prove anyone can cook.
Who’s it for: It’s actually for adults. The comedy comes from physical humor and there isn’t tons of it, so kids are left watching people and rats cook.
Expectations: Pixar is the gold seal of animated movies. Sure, I didn’t think “Cars” had the zing of “Finding Nemo” or “Toy Story 2,” but I figured that was only more motivation for “Ratatouille” to be fantastic.
Remy voiced by Patton Oswalt: The idea of a poison-smelling rat wanting to break free from the family because he appreciates good food is a fun idea, but it feels like they stretched it. Remy is endearing, but his journey isn’t.
Gusteau voiced by Brad Garrett: When a rat imagines a dead chef talks to him, will a child understand? These questions and more in Pixar’s “Ratatouille.”
Anton Ego voiced by Peter O’Toole: Anton is a villainous food critic who isn’t in the film nearly enough. His flashback, upon eating the ratatouille, was one of the few times the film worked on an emotional level.
Talking: It’s dull. There isn’t much humor in the dialogue at all. It attempts to show the passion of food and that it’s important to admit who you really are, but the messages get muddled.
Sights and sounds: Once again, Pixar has made a beautiful looking film. There isn’t one scene that visually stands out, except the times when the rats were running in unison, and then it was so real it verged on creepy. The end of the film is the only time Pixar took advantage of rats cooking. It’s a good climax, but the film needed more.
“Ratatouille” doesn’t roll off the tongue for a film title, but neither does “Meandering tale of a cooking rat, which parents will slightly appreciate, but don’t worry it’s animated so your kids will sit through it.” Most of the discussions of food come off like an animated “Frasier” episode, which shouldn’t have broad enough appeal.
Overall Grade: 6