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Starring Patton Oswalt, Ian Holm, Lou Romano, Brian Dennehy, Peter Sohn, Peter O'Toole, Brad Garrett, Janeane Garofalo, John Ratzenberger
Screenplay by Brad Bird
Based on story by Brad Bird and Jim Capobianco
Directed by Brad Bird

IN SHORT: Fabulous. [Rated G. 110 minutes]

Remy (Patton Oswalt) a country "boy" with big dreams of one day living in the City of Light -- Paris to everyone else -- finds his dreams coming true when a cataclysmic event separates him from the rest of his family, and drives him into the City. There he must find a way to survive, even as his father Django (Brian Dennehy) and brother Emile (Peter Sohn) mourn his loss. Remy's sole advantage is a big set of smelling whatchamacallits in his nose. Everyone else in the city may trudge to work, following the same patterns, maybe feeling trapped like rats in a maze by their boring lives but Remy, ah, Remy truly is a rat trapped in a maze. Seriously. He's a rat. He wants to be a grande chef. See the problem? Disney Pixar lets loose another four-bagger with Ratatouille, a film that had us laughing so hard we couldn't take notes.

Once Upon A Time . . . Remy loves to cook. He practices in private while his fellow country rats go out scavenging. He sneaks into the homes of humans to watch and learn and, hopefully, not get killed in the process. Remy hopes in his little heart of hearts to someday impress the great chef and restauranteur Auguste Gusteau, author of "Anyone Can Cook". One small problem -- Gusteau has been dead for two years and his famed restaurant, under the command of a pipsqueak Napoleon-ic chef named Skinner (Ian Holm), has seen better days. Skinner is counting the days until legal ownership of the once five star restaurant falls to his hands. What he doesn't know is . . . ah, that would be telling

Stuck in Paris, Remy heads for the eatery because that is all he knows of the city. An unusual alliance is struck between Remy and garbage boy Linguini (Lou Romano), who will tuck our beloved rat under a chef's cap and, well, the rat pulls the strings and the boy does the cooking. It reads dumb but, trust us, it's all funny. The full featured story includes a love story for Linguini in the personage of chef Colette (Janeane Garofalo), a running commentary by the ghost of chef Gusteau (Brad Garrett) and, of course, the ever mounting danger of a bad review by restaurant critic Anton Ego (Peter O'Toole), the man responsible for demoting the once five star restaurant to four stars. What wins this daunting figure back? A simple dish called ratatouille -- far to simple and country-fied for a fine French restaurant but said dish stirs something in the critic. Something even the panicked waiter Mustafa (John Ratzenberger) must acknowledge as good.

Far into the age of CG animation, we must admit that Ratatouille is a beautiful film to watch.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Ratatouille, he would have paid . . .


Somewhere down the line we'll want to see Ratatouille again, if not on the big screen then surely in our personal collection. The perfect $10 rating goes to films that make us want to see 'em again immediately, which just didn't happen here. Then again, it has been a burdensome week for us critics with too many releases before the July 4th holiday.

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