The Emperor's New Groove

Ok, who is running the show at Disney these days? When did Disney start making good films again? Was Eisner taken out in a senseless anvil accident? These questions and others burned brightly in the mind of the Film Hobbit as he convulsed with laughter in his local theatre and accidently kicked the seat in front of him greatly annoying the Goober eating fat guy occupying it.

These days, Disney cartoons are now referred to as "full length animated feature films" and generally stick to a tried and true Walt Disney formula: Songs, Silly Sidekicks, and Romance. "The Emporer's New Groove" contains none of these. Instead, it harkens back to the days when "full length animated feature films" were still called "cartoons" and when you went to see one you went to laugh. Two parts Looney Toon, 1 part Seinfeld, and 1 part Tommy Boy, "The Emporer's New Groove" is a successful journey into all out belly laughter. Gone is the traditional Disney songs containing elaborate and pointless dance numbers. Gone is the shallow and meaningless obsessive romance between two characters who don't even know each other. Gone is the annoying pint sized sidekick who means well but only serves to get the important characters into trouble. Instead we have a film with smart, hilarious dialogue and uproarious slapstick.

Perhaps what really makes Groove so funny is that it simply isn't afraid of awkward silences. It revels in them, and uses them to kick in some of the funniest, albeit uncomfortable moments in the entire film. A lot of credit here has to go to David Spade, John Goodmand, and the guy who played Putty on Seinfeld (like anyone knows his real name) who clearly lent a little more than just their voices to the film.

However, "The Emporer's New Groove" is by no means a carefully crafted movie. The entire film gives you the feeling that most of the dialogue might have been improvised right on the spot in-studio, with writers struggling to bend the script around the improvisation to make it all fit together. In the words of Monty Python, the whole thing gives the Hobbit the impression of being, "thrown together entirely at the last minute and at great expense." And considering all the problems Disney had trying to put it together, this may not be far from the truth. But perhaps that is for the best, because the end result is an entirely creative and funny film that doesn't waste time with false sentimentality, but goes straight for the belly laugh.

Groove may be a cartoon, but the Hobbit defies any adult to go see this movie and not have a good time. Just be careful not to dump your popcorn on the Goober eating fat guy sitting in front of you, trust me, you won't like the result.

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