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The Emperor's New Groove

Starring: David Spade, John Goodman (voices)
Director: Mark Dindal
Genre: Comedy
Year: 2000
Rating: 3 / 5

It may not have the flash and glamour of The Lion King and The Little Mermaid, but The Emperor's New Groove sure does manage to entertain, and not just the preteen set. This offering from the technical wizards at Disney features some fairly standard animation, leaving the vocal leads to carry the brunt of the film. Fortunately, the four main actors - all veterans of the small screen - are up to the task. David Spade (Just Shoot Me), John Goodman (Roseanne), Eartha Kitt (the original Batman), and Patrick Warburton (Seinfeld) dance and prance alongside their animated selves, assuring an enjoyable experience for all viewers.

Emperor Kuzco (Spade) is a spoiled brat of a ruler, willing to disregard the lives of others at a mere whim. He believes himself to be the center of the universe, admired by all, including his own staff. Alas, he underestimates the wily Yzma (Kitt), his chief adviser. Yzma is in fact attempting to rule the country in his stead, though she wisely defers to the emperor whenever in his presence. Fired for her counterproductive behavior, Yzma, with the help of her dimwitted (and love-struck) sidekick Kronk (Warburton), plots to kill Kuzco. With the emperor dead, she would be free to rule the kingdom.

Chaos ensues, however, when Yzma's attempt to kill Kuzco goes horribly awry. Hoping to end the emperor's life with some ingested poison, Yzma instead turns Kuzco into a llama! The wicked Yzma orders Kronk to kill the morphed emperor, but he instead releases the bewildered ruler out into his kingdom. Pacha (Goodman), himself a victim of the emperor's greed, comes across this talking llama and must wrestle with his conscience. Should he help Kuzco, even though the emperor wants to turn Pacha's home into a swimming pool? Or should he let this ruler-turned-llama roam the countryside on his own?

The biggest news concerning this film was the controversy that occurred during its initial development, specifically songs written by Sting that were eventually excluded when the film's tone underwent an overhaul. That aside, The Emperor's New Groove is a thoroughly fun-filled time, clocking in at a brisk seventy-nine minutes. Dave Spade is a definite treat for adults previously exposed to his trademark dry wit. The real star, though, is Patrick Warburton, who steals nearly all of his scenes, even if his character is no great stretch from the actor's Puddy character on Seinfeld. Warburton does big and goofy like no one else, becoming an excellent foil for Eartha Kitt's conniving Yzma. See it for the kids or see it for yourself, but make some time for The Emperor's New Groove.

Cast:

David Spade..........Kuzco
John Goodman..........Pacha
Eartha Kitt..........Yzma
Patrick Warburton..........Kronk

Certification: Rated G.
Running Time: 79 minutes.

Additional Info: Internet Movie Database
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