In its first computer-animated feature without Pixar, Disney shirks the wit of Toy Story 2 and Monsters, Inc. in favor of the blandness of Saturday-morning cartoons. Of course, as every babbling-stage child knows, the story of the world’s most famous avian alarmist shouldn’t take 78 minutes to tell. Disney distends it into an exercise in talk-to-your-dad-ism, casting Chicken Little (Zach Braff) as a nerdy runt of a bird who loses the confidence of his father (Garry Marshall) after causing a town-wide panic by claiming that the sky is falling. One year later, his humiliation compounded by the imminent release of Crazy Little Chicken: The Movie, Chicken can’t catch a break in school—he’s stuck with an unconscionably high locker, perennially relegated to the “unpopular” dodgeball team, and consistently late to sheep-speak class (every answer is “baa”). The usual pop-culture jokes, disco tunes, and sarcastic narrator are on hand to prevent atrophy, but by the time the sky really does start “falling”—courtesy of an alien invasion— Chicken Little‘s frantic efforts to stay farm fresh have started to wear on the nerves.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 1, 2005