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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 33.75%
Average: 11.25%
Pretty Bad: 2.5%
Total Crap: 3.75%

5 reviews, 50 user ratings

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Emperor's New Groove, The
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by EricDSnider

"Certainly not a 'classic,' but a laugh-out-loud pleasure for now."
4 stars

Disney's ultra-hip cartoon "The Emperor's New Groove" is clearly the product of a world-weary, post-Nickelodeon era. It's not enough anymore to make the kids laugh while slipping in some satire for the grown-ups; kids are so savvy nowadays, you have to give THEM something to bite on, too.

Set roughly in the age of the Incas, the film centers on Emperor Kuzco (David Spade), who in turn centers on himself. He's a brash young ruler who cares only for himself. He's not cruel or despotic -- he just doesn't think about anyone else.

He gets mad at his adviser, an emaciated Cruella De Vil type named Yzma (Eartha Kitt), and fires her. For revenge, she plots to poison him with the help of her beefy, dim-witted assistant, Kronk (Patrick Warburton). Kronk screws it up, though, and instead of being killed, Kuzco is turned into a llama.

He accidentally winds up with a llama herder named Pacha (John Goodman), whose village Kuzco was planning to destroy to make room for his new swimming pool. Against what might have been his better judgment, Pacha agrees to help Kuzco make it back to the palace, even though Kuzco refuses to change his mind about the whole leveling-the-town thing.

And so we have a breezy little buddy picture in which the unlikely pair has to work as a team, and in which Kuzco has to learn to love someone other than himself.

Where Disney's other animated films of the last decade have generally had that "classic" feel about them, this one seems a bit more tossed-off, like it will be all but forgotten 10 years from now. Even movies that were more about humor than message -- "Aladdin" and "Hercules," for example -- still had an "I'm gonna make it someday" musical number and a soft heart. "The Emperor's New Groove" has neither. The message is no more or less deep than, say, "Beauty and the Beast's"; it's the manner in which it's presented that makes it different. Kuzco's personal journey seems like a necessary evil, something that's there because fables are supposed to have morals, and the movie keeps it at arm's length. Emotionally speaking, "Emperor" is a typical male: more interested in cracking jokes and being snide than in expressing its feelings.

With its lightning pace, 78-minute length and no sense of timelessness about it, it would be easy to dismiss the film as a thrown-together attempt to make a few dollars. I don't think that would be fair, though, as it is very well-animated, tightly plotted, well-acted and extremely funny. If it's a quickie, it's a pretty good one.

David Spade is, well, David Spade as Kuzco. If his smarmy, superior manner bothers you normally, don't expect it to be any different here. John Goodman is likable as always, but it's Patrick Warburton -- David Puddy on "Seinfeld" -- who makes the picture soar. His Kronk character is more than just a well-meaning moron. He's actually kind of smart, and good-natured enough in his subservience to Yzma that you root for him all the way. His delivery is reminiscent of the Marx Brothers or Bugs Bunny, loopy and energetic, even while maintaining his tough-sounding deadpan.

Will you be rewatching this again and again a decade from now? Unlikely. But will you laugh quite a bit now? Probably so.

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originally posted: 07/04/03 12:12:02
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User Comments

10/05/13 KingNeutron Despite prod problems, Great for a laugh; very rewatchable. Spade/Warburton/Kitt nailed it. 5 stars
10/20/11 Magic A conflicted production results in one of Disney's funniest movies ever. Kronk alone, whoa. 4 stars
2/20/11 Ark Hilarious! Once in a while Disney screws up and gives us something good! 5 stars
2/14/11 Quigley The funniest movie ever made; no joke. This film is criminally underrated. Ten stars! 5 stars
8/30/09 CTT Warburton and Kitt steal the film; hilarious stuff 5 stars
12/11/08 Dominic YZMA looks like LADY TREMAINE,MALIFICENT and URSULA. 5 stars
11/01/08 Shaun Wallner Hilarious Movie! 5 stars
9/02/06 Chad Thomas One of the funniest animated movies ever! 5 stars
8/19/06 Beau All-time fav disney movie, very comimcal and entertaining, not just for kids!!!! 5 stars
7/12/06 David Cohen This is what happens when commedies try to be hip instead of funny 3 stars
5/23/06 Ashley Hinz I hated it, just a waste of time. 1 stars
4/26/06 timoth1212 AWESOME COOL SWEET AND ALL THE OTHER NAMES MEANING REALLY GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
3/28/06 Brian Meyer They turned their "Kingdom of the Sun" project into this... AND I LOVE IT! BOO-YAH!!!! 5 stars
8/30/05 ES Laughter but no redeeming qualities, not as bad as Mulan 3 stars
7/03/05 Quigley Totally funny. what do you people have against this anyway? disney got it right this time! 5 stars
1/28/05 Jack Scallops Worth the $3.50 5 stars
1/16/05 conor the great hilarious... why doesn't Disney do more like this? 4 stars
7/24/04 Sarah If only Disney would make them all like this! 5 stars
7/18/04 Nate It's good to see Disney trying something new 5 stars
5/20/04 John Disney has sunk to this?! 1 stars
5/13/04 Sean Scanlan close, but no Doug's First Movie 4 stars
5/11/04 J.Peckerfoot Great fun for all the fuckin family.Thankyou Kronk! 5 stars
4/29/04 merv someone needs to lay off the crack! 5 stars
11/28/03 Samuel A very funny cartoon, Spade is awesome!! 5 stars
8/30/02 Interrog8 KRONK! Need I say more? 5 stars
8/05/02 LessThanColleen Okay, I'm almost 15 and this was great! Love Kronk! (Reason #2, look what I can do) lol 5 stars
2/20/02 Xaver Loved it! How wonderful to hear Eartha's gravelly voice. 5 stars
1/02/02 Andrew Carden I Liked Land Before Time #6 Better Then This. 1 stars
12/16/01 Jeremy I laughed but I didnt piss my pants and it was funny (very) 5 stars
9/30/01 daniboy best disney movie in years. laughed my ass off 5 stars
7/01/01 ALEXIS Hey I'm also 15 and this is one of my favorite movies!! it kicks ass, so does David Spade! 5 stars
6/29/01 Geebo I'm also 15, and okay Kronk. Kronk ruled. He was awesome, Nothing can compare. 5 stars
6/01/01 Melody Gordon Ths movie is awsome!!! I'm 15 and I love to watc it all the time!!!! 5 stars
5/18/01 Wendy Gayle Walkup-Barry I loved it!!!! So did my daughter :) 5 stars
4/07/01 viking Well, at least it's an original idea free of schmaltz !!! 4 stars
1/29/01 Mario Rodgers What a bunch of grouches. This movie was brilliant! Stop saying the animation was weak. 5 stars
1/16/01 bats surprised by the sharp writing and humor 4 stars
1/12/01 Gariess A cartoon is a cartoon. Why do we expect effects and animation to entertain us? leave it fo 2 stars
1/12/01 McArthur Student Simply one of disneys best! 5 stars
1/11/01 Who? Great movie, better than all disney movies since "Lion King", or maybe even more 5 stars
1/03/01 FrayLo Not bad, sure as hell more entertaining than sitting through "Dude, Where's My Car?" 4 stars
1/03/01 The Bomb 69 animation was weak and the beginning was slow but the last 20 minutes made up for it 4 stars
1/02/01 Tonka Lightweight and hilarious, especially the last 20 minutes. Eartha Kitt is the best villain 5 stars
12/29/00 Dippy Better than you think! 5 stars
12/24/00 Reverend Krule i'm sick of sittin' through disney shit 2 stars
12/19/00 orpy I was prepared to hate it; it was not bad!! 4 stars
12/16/00 Boy In The Designer Bubble New Groove? I wonder how many blacks worked on this film? None I'll bet. 3 stars
12/16/00 Paul Putman It was such a homage to Chuck Jones that I missed the Disney magic. 4 stars
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  15-Dec-2000 (G)
  DVD: 18-Oct-2005


  05-Apr-2001 (G)

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