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Free-Range Chicken

No secret recipe here: The creators of Wallace & Gromit and Wat's Pig cook up a bucketload of inventive fun

Reluctant hero: Mel Gibson gives voice to Rocky, an American rooster who suddenly gets the big picture at a British egg farm.
DreamWorks
Reluctant hero: Mel Gibson gives voice to Rocky, an American rooster who suddenly gets the big picture at a British egg farm.

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Rated G

And is it funny? Apparently, as Simpsons creator Matt Groening sat in front of me and chortled with abandon, especially at Mrs. Tweedy's shameless billboard, which features a perversely calm chicken poking its head out of a pie. The movie also hits its highs when it echoes the humane giddiness that first welcomed another cartoonist, Gary Larson, onto the scene. When Mr. Tweedy lifts the roof off the coop to discover all the chickens wide-eyed, brandishing his tools, it sounds the same note as the casual cows of The Far Side warning one another of approaching cars. There's something infinitely satisfying about the concept of animals knowing much more than they let on, and the radical organizing of Chicken Run gleefully blurs the line between species. Vive la révolution!

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