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Shrek is by far the cutest and smartest animated film since Pixar's offering of talking bugs (A Bug's Life) and soulful toys( The Toy Stories). The characters are so 3 dimensional you forget you're watching painted digital creatures thought up by animation wizards.

The celebrity cast, here just voices behind the delightful celluloid images, are perfect reflections of their cartoon counterparts. Each character is continually witty without being overtly cynical. The punch lines, that number in the thousands, are often unpredictable and slap- your- knee clever. Finally, a movie for the whole family.

Shrek's rating is PG but after seeing a pair of psychologically challenged parents ushering in their offspring into Hannibal, this treasure is pretty much a free for all. The PG rating is given for it's teensy bit of gross humor; eyeball eating, the slurping of a slug or two and a bit of clean-ish sexual innuendos meant for the "knowing" adults that will fly right over the kid's little cartoon admiring heads. Don't worry, unless you're a card-carrying neurotic that thinks TV or Brittany Spears is the route of all evil yadda, yadda, yadda ...Shrek's just fine.

Shrek's story goes...Shrek (Mike Myers' voice a la, a toned down a wee bit, 'Fat Bastard') is an ogre. You remember from the fairytales? Those big unruly fiends with Troll-like appendages, always hell-bent on mischievous mayhem and excessive drooling while devouring the poor innocent village folks? Yeah. This ogre's a little different. He lives in a peaceful swamp and minds his own beeswax, far from the village troublemaker.

Until the ruler of his land, Prince Farquard (obviously a loose lipped joke for fu**wad), orders all the fairytale characters residing in his hamlet be banished to his (Shrek's) humble, quiet, swamp.

This will not do! Normally a social shut-in, Shrek finds himself besieged with unwanted overly happy- singing- rhyming guests. None more annoying then a talkative donkey who had originally escaped the prince's demands and had found Shrek along the road, and kind of just…stayed.

Shrek's a wreck. People, er, fairy tale creatures, and fairy tale animals are everywhere. The wolf from Little Red Riding Hood is in his bed smoking a cigar, the Seven Dwarfs store Snowy's casket-like perma-a-porta-boudoir on Shrek's dinner table, the Three Blind Mice run about breaking things with their guide sticks and chomping on his ear while the rest of the bedtime gang is gathered— camped— right in his front yard!

There's nothing else to do. Shrek must go forth and make the prince reverse his orders and remove the cast of delinquent misfits that list like the usual suspects in a Grimm's tale or Old Mother Hubbard.

Shrek doesn't know where the nasty prince lives. He needs help. Hmm. That annoying little donkey that wont leave knows where the prince is. Shrek grudgingly agrees to him playing escort.

The little donkey is a handful for Shrek, who is use to no-one. The donkey is a jabber jaw, a rapid-fire conversationalist that babbles on endlessly about next to nothing.— Lucky for us he's given his vocal orations by Eddy Murphy, one of our finest living comedians. Eddie's just brilliant as the wisecracking, phobia-filled, intruding little mule.

Together, Shrek and the little donkey, get an audience with his lord, with the prince.

Prince Farquaad (John Lithgow who's voice naturally sounds a bit snobby--he's the leader from Third Rock From the Left, er, Sun) is far from receptive. However, he sees a use for the odd duo, which serves his wants and needs. He agrees to return the land to the ogre, imp free, if he'll take on a brief mission. Faquuad wants them to fetch his queen to be. The woman whom he has chosen to be his bride, thusly catapulting the idiot to king status by way of marriage. Dink

Off, again, Shrek and the little Donkey go. Their adventures to and from the bride's land are very entertaining. The tale refreshing even if we (adults) all know whom, what, and when within a half of an hour. This fairy tale is more like those old Fractured Fairy Tales of days past. Just off enough to keep adults hooting and just innocent enough and chock full of righteous morals to keep the kiddies mesmerized for a couple of cry-freehours.

The bi-partisan cast keeps us giddy with giggles and happy as hobbitts right to its 100% certified fairy tale happy ending. Enjoy!

Snack Recommendation: Gingerbread Man cookies and milk

Starring: Shrek, The Little Donkey, Princess Fiona, and Prince Farquaad along with Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and John Lithgow



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