Every rat has its day Rated G

By Gus Bode

Rated G

Starring: Ian Holm, Brian Dennehy, Peter O’Toole, Janeane Garofalo, Will Arnett

Directed: Brad Bird

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Runtime: 110 min

Though rats can look cute at times, it is important to remember rodents were responsible for transmitting the Black Death, which infected and killed roughly one half of Europe’s population in the 14th century.

It is with this grim knowledge one must watch Disney and Pixar’s animated comedy, “Ratatouille” — if only to understand why every French man and woman goes into violent hysterics whenever one of the cute, little darlings pokes its head out of the gutter.

“Ratatouille” is centered around a young rat named Remy who has a preternatural understanding of human cuisine and dreams of becoming a chef like his hero, Gusteau.

His family and friends, who are more than happy to eat decaying wrappers and rotten fruit out of the garbage, however, do not share Remy’s love for fine food. But a gun-toting Frenchwoman who is bent on ridding her home of its unwanted tenants soon separates Remy from his fellow vermin.

Ending up in Paris, Remy decides to follow his dream but finds most Parisian restaurants are not welcome to the idea of rats. Fortunately for Remy, however, he is able to form a partnership with the lanky young Linguini, a custodial staff member of Gusteau’s, a gourmet restaurant that had gone downhill since the death of its namesake. Through their inventive cooking, the restaurant becomes successful, leading to a climactic standoff with the rather cold and unfeeling food critic Anton Ego.

The duo of Remy and Linguini is one of the most inventive comedic partnerships in recent memory. Among the film’s highlights are the clever, slapstick routines involving Remy trying to control Linguini by pulling at his hair like the strings of a marionette. The physical comedy in “Ratatouille” is a celebration of the awkwardness that is the human body, and it harkens back to the days of Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin.

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At the heart of “Ratatouille” lies a fairly generic yet important message: Follow your dream. Remy, despite obstacles and criticism put forth by others, persists in pursuing his dream career of becoming a chef, even if it does run across a few health code violations.

But all talking animals aside, Disney and Pixar’s latest outing has something in store for all age groups. Whereas most films for children are dumbed down and most films for adults are made unnecessarily risqu�, “Ratatouille” is one of those rare films that has a universal appeal, one that should spur some parents to beg their kids to take them to see it.

Daily Egyptian writer Devin Vaughn can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 275 or [email protected]

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