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Ratatouille

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In Brad Bird's computer-animated comedy, a young rat named Remy (voiced by Patton Oswalt) longs to cook. The relatively anthropomorphic Remy -- he has bluish fur and stands erect -- secretly teams with a bumbling young human cook, and voila! Delicious meals and madcap kitchen mishaps! Kids may enjoy the slapstick, but be mystified by the haute cuisine gags. (Even the title -- yes, you need to know exactly what "ratatouille" is -- is a puzzling mouthful.) Grown-ups will have to work past their deep-seated distaste of celebrating a rat fully integrated into the kitchen of a fancy restaurant. Two hours is too long to hang this slim story upon, and overall, Ratatouille is a disappointment from the Pixar gang that brought us Finding Nemo and The Incredibles. Those stories effectively used animation as windows into unknowable realms, and delivered clever, fresh stories; frankly, it's no surprise to me that a rat enjoys food. Starts Fri., June 29.

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