Barnyard: Paramount
August 02, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

In Barnyard, an animated-animals movie from Nickelodeon, Otis (voiced by Kevin James) is the goofy cow, round and shiny and tricolor like a walking Neapolitan ice cream bar. When the farmer’s away, he and his critter buds throw jamborees in the barn and go surfing down a cliff atop a block of ice. This is when the ‘toon’s at its jolliest. At other times, as coyotes lurk nearby and Otis (at the behest of his gray-cow dad) sluggishly learns how to be a ”strong man,” it feels like Barnyard swipes too much of its plot from The Lion King.

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