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After rats, what next?

July 04, 2007|From the Washington Post

We get the box-office concept of the penguin, we do. It's the rat movies we don't get. Penguins can be sweet little buddies struggling to survive in a harsh world ("March of the Penguins"); they can giggle and then dance like Savion Glover ("Happy Feet"). And boy, can they surf ("Surf's Up").

Last weekend brought "Ratatouille," about a rat living in the walls of a Paris bistro who wants to be a chef. Julia Child: rolling in her grave. Perhaps there are other cinematically underserved animals? A sea urchin with an attitude problem? A feisty mink trying to save his own skin?

"The Fur Will Fly"

After a tornado destroys her habitat, an innocent prairie dog (Emma Roberts) must find her way home with the help of a befuddled beaver (Dustin Hoffman) and a fearful but lovable mole (John Goodman). Along the way, they encounter a French Canadian trapper (Gerard Depardieu) and PETA activists, who wish to "adopt" them.

"Duckbill and Ted's Excellent Adventure"

An agoraphobic platypus (Ben Stiller) lives in emotional darkness until a family of wacky woodchucks moves in next door and teaches him how to socialize, shore-surf and get in touch with his true monotreme self.

"Sleeping With the Anemone"

Cute, twentysomething jellyfish share a loft -- and love -- in this rom-com about Finn (Dane Cook), a simple, spineless lug hot for Lola (Kelly Clarkson), a sassy suckerfish. But he can inherit a thousand clams only if he weds wealthy Jessica Albacore (Jessica Simpson).

"Eats Shoots and Leaves"

Mei Xiang (Judith Light) has always been content with baby making and fur cleaning. But one night the panda goes out into the world and is torn between wanting a career and returning behind bars to be the savior of a species. Tag line: "Motherhood. Careerhood. Are they really black and white?"

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