An energetic sense of the absurd helps make this animated romp entertaining, even though the script is almost painfully stupid. But the pace is so brisk, and the stream of deranged jokes so continual, that kids will find it hilarious and grown-ups won't be able to stop smiling. So who cares if the story makes no sense at all?
Our hero is a scrawny turkey named Reggie (voiced by Wilson), who's an outcast on his farm because he's both smart and naive. When he's accidentally pardoned by the US President on Thanksgiving, he's living the high life until the meathead turkey Jake (Harrelson) kidnaps him, ranting about a mission to travel back in time to stop the pilgrims from starting the Thanksgiving turkey tradition to begin with. Sure enough, they find a time machine and off they go to 1621, where they team up with a colony of native American turkeys led by Broadbeak (David) and his feisty daughter Jenny (Poehler). But they're also being pursued by a relentless human hunter (Meaney).
The screenwriters conveniently ignore the fact that more turkeys are eaten globally at Christmas than at America's Thanksgiving, but never mind. They also pack the script with a continuous stream of riotously warped gags, random movie references and crazed action sequences. Although even a 5-year-old will be confused that 17th century pilgrims are rendered more like 19th century cowboys. This continual sense of incoherence gets even more annoying later, when the plot abandons even its own tenuous sense of logic. But by then we have realised that it's pointless to resist.
With only adequate animation, the most enjoyable aspect of the film is the bromance between Jake and Jenny's similarly hawkish brother Ranger (voiced by director Hayward). These two macho idiots spend much of the film trying to out-do each other in the manliness department, then do a hilarious mating dance together. And among the lively voice cast, the best performance comes from Takei as the time machine. Yes, we're lucky that all of this is just about ridiculous enough to keep us laughing.
Watch the trailer for below for Free Birds
Run time: 91 mins
In Theaters: Friday 1st November 2013
Box Office USA: $55.7M
Distributed by: Relativity Media
Production compaines: Relativity Media
Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 18%
Fresh: 14 Rotten: 66
IMDB: 5.9 / 10
Director: Jimmy Hayward
Producer: Scott Mosier
Screenwriter: Jimmy Hayward, Scott Mosier
Starring: Woody Harrelson as Jake (voice), Owen Wilson as Reggie (voice), Amy Poehler as Jenny (voice), Dan Fogler as Governor Bradford (voice), Colm Meaney as Myles Standish (voice), Lesley Nicol as Female Pilgrim (voice), George Takei as S.T.E.V.E. (voice), Jimmy Hayward as Ranger/Leatherbeak/President/Hazmats (voice), Kaitlyn Maher as President's Daughter (voice), Carlos Alazraqui as Amos (voice), Carlos Ponce as Narrator/Alejandro (voice), Robert Beltran as Chief Massasoit (voice), Danny Carey as Danny (voice)
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