Father-of-two Brad Garrett prides himself on being the man of the house. So it’s his job to exile any and all furry critters who don’t pay him rent. ”My kids don’t like it when I kill mice,” he says. ”They want me to catch them and let them go.” But rats? That’s another story. ”I draw the line at rats.”

Unfortunately for Pixar, he’s not alone. And that’s the challenge facing the studio as they debut their new movie, which follows a misfit rat and wannabe Gordon Ramsay named Remy (Patton Oswalt), who has set up shop in the restaurant of a top-notch Paris chef named Auguste Gusteau (Garrett). Does anyone with two legs really want to see a rodent-kitchen comedy? Oswalt thinks so. ”It’s the textbook definition of the impossible dream, because he wants to excel in an arena where everyone wants him dead,” argues the beloved stand-up comic and supporting player on The King of Queens. ”I’m a rat who dreams.”

Plus, the movie’s got two veritable Michelin stars in its favor: It’s from Pixar — ’nuff said — and it’s directed by Brad Bird, the visionary behind The Incredibles and Iron Giant, whose trademark blend of action and humor tends to keep kids watching (and hungering for those lucrative DVDs) while amusing the older crowd, too. At one point, Bird became so obsessed with accurately depicting rodent movement that he adopted a couple of rats, figuring, ”Why not embrace the fact that there is a little bit of the ick factor and then get to know them as individuals?” Hopefully, by summer, we’ll all have such big hearts — and steady stomachs. (June 29)

  • Movie
  • 110 minutes