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THE WILD

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Led by the lion Sampson, a pack of wisecracking animals from a New York City zoo go on the lam in a hijacked tugboat when Sampson's son, Ryan, is inadvertently shipped to Africa. Naturally, the city critters find life in the real jungle to be tricky, especially dealing with a domineering wildebeest who organizes dance parties. It's an unfortunate coincidence that Steve Williams' animated family comedy is nearly a scene-for-scene match for last year's superior Madagascar (this isn't an accusation of criminal rip-off, but it surely illustrates the lack of imagination in Hollywood). The Wild isn't just overly familiar, it's also tedious and unfunny. Kids may be pacified somewhat by the frantic action, the pretty colors and some nice bits of animation, but The Wild stumbles badly in its jokes, relying mostly on stale slapstick. Keifer Sutherland voices Sampson, while comedians Eddie Izzard, Jim Belushi and Janeane Garofalo are respectively a petulant koala, an irritating squirrel and a dull giraffe. (AH)

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