Racing Stripes (PG)

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Time Out says

During a particularly slow ten-minute period towards the end of this equine underdog film, the auditorium holding the media screening came alive with the babble and squeak of kids not concentrating. Mostly, however, Du Chau’s anthropomorphic live-actioner lollops along at a respectable pace, even though its predictable storyline has been done a zillion times.

Driving home in a storm, single parent and horse-farmer Nolan Walsh (Bruce Greenwood) chances on a zebra in a box in the middle of the road. He takes the bedraggled foal home where his young daughter Channing (Hayden Panettiere) goes gooey eyed and pleads with him to keep it. Months later, Stripes has grown into a handsome zebra with an identity crisis. The thoroughbred racehorses on the track next to the farm laugh at him, mocking his gait and un-horseyness. But might Stripes prove them (and every zoologist) wrong when he enters the Kentucky Open with Channing at the reins?

You can see where this is heading, right up to the slo-mo race sequence. Credit to the production team, though, some of whom worked on the ‘Babe’ films. They could have opted for CGI characters but chose the more difficult route of using real animals – albeit with animated lips and eyebrows. Dustin Hoffman, Whoopi Goldberg and Snoop Dogg provide the voices and trite jokes. Hardly groundbreaking stuff, but this ‘Seabiscuit’ for kids passes the time efficiently enough.

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