Director: Brad Bird
Writer: Brad Bird
Starring: Patton Oswalt, Lou Romano, Ian Holm, Brian Dennehy, Peter O’Toole, Janeane Garofalo, Brad Garrett
Studio/Running Time: The Walt Disney Company, 110 min.
"No matter where I serve my guests
They seem to like the kitchen best
‘Cause I’m the cook of the house."
-Paul and Linda McCartney “Cook of the House”
Inarguably, it was the heart and emotion of Walt Disney’s films that made them memorable. Director Brad Bird has a long way to catch up to the master, but in just eight years no animator has come close to his success rate—first with The Iron Giant, then The Incredibles and now with the ambitious Ratatouille. And in each film that Disney “heart” beats strong. This time he has even given us a rodent to root for — a rat named Remy (voiced by Patton Oswalt).
Remy is a connoisseur of fine food and discovers that he can cook. After being separated from the rest of his colony he finds himself at Gusteau’s, a famous Paris restaurant that has been on the decline. He meets Linguini (Lou Romano), a garbage boy who cannot cook and in the process they create a recipe for the restaurant’s resurgence, much to the dismay of the eatery’s manager Skinner (Ian Holm) who has discovered that Linguini is the rightful heir to the restaurant. With convincing French accents, additional talents such as Peter O’Toole, Janeane Garofalo, Will Arnett and Brian Dennehy help to create some charmingly memorable and lifelike characters.
As in his previous films, Bird offers up a story with substance. You know you’ve been wowed when you find yourself cheering for hundreds of rats cooking dinner in a kitchen and you aren’t inclined to gag. Instead, they shamelessly tug at your heartstrings and give you good reason to go home and turn on the Food Network.