Life is good at Mossy Bottom Farm. But, well, the workaday schedule can get a tad tedious. Every day is the same, you see. Move here, do this, shear that. Over and over. Besides, everybody deserves a day off to romp and have fun now and again, don’t they? That’s Shaun’s reasoning anyway.
So this titular sheep puts his little wooly-topped noggin to the holiday-creating task.
Hmm, how to distract Bitzer (the dog) and waylay the Farmer (the human)? For that canine warden, it’ll definitely require a little yummy bone temptation. And then for the beloved biped, well, Shaun and his sort will use sheep’s greatest superpower: the ability to put any human to sleep by simply jumping, one at a time, over a farmyard fence.
Before you can count to 10, then, the good old farmer is tucked away and snoring in a camping trailer bunk and the sheep pals are ready for partyville. But when that rickety trailer and its precious cargo accidentally goes careening down hill and over dale toward the Big City, well, all the frivolous fun goes out of the grand gambit. The sheep feel shorn of their silliness, you might say.
What will they do now? Without the Farmer, Mossy Bottom won’t be the same. For that matter, what if the big guy’s crash landing in the Big City left him hurt? That would be terrible. And it would all be Shaun’s fault.
Shaun will have to get his little sheep brain working once again. Or things might end up really baaaaaadly.
Shaun and his animal compatriots do everything possible (including putting themselves at risk in the Big City) to bring the Farmer home safely. These beastie buds also come to realize that what they all have, as a farm family, is something very valuable. In fact, we meet other stray animals who long dearly for those same kind of “family” ties.
The Farmer, for his part, eventually decides that a little bit of downtime and family fun is vital, even on a hardworking farm.
After being shorn by the Famer, Shaun is upset and sees him (in shadowed silhouette) as a devil-like character with horns and a pitchfork.
Music (from the group Primal Scream) playing under a scene of partying pigs includes the lyric, “Get yer rocks off, Get yer rocks off, honey.” In a nod to Chippendales-style beefcake calendars, a publicity photo features a shirtless farmer straddling a chair. A Big City Animal Control agent named Trumper takes a liking to a sheep dressed up as a human and openly flirts with “her.” Later the disguised sheep gives him a kiss on the cheek to distract him from some other clandestine sheep activity. Accidentally tossed lobsters pinch a woman’s backside.
Slapstick tumbles and thumps abound. Some of the more dangerous looking ones include a runaway camping trailer almost getting hit by a train, and a falling street lamp hitting the Farmer on the head and knocking him out. Trumper produces a special animal hook that’s connected to a high-voltage battery; he demonstrates its power by grabbing and setting a toy on fire. Later, Trumper gets so angry that he tries to push the Farmer and all his sheep into a deep rocky gorge with a tractor.
Not so much as a single “baaa” out of place in this category.
A hospital patient is knocked unconscious with gas in an operating room. We see the Farmer in a photograph, holding flowers and a bottle of champagne. A diner has a glass of wine in a restaurant.
Shaun sheepishly scoops up a few inappropriate laughs with toilet humor. For example, while trying to break Shaun out of the animal control center, the sheep break down the wrong wall, exposing a man sitting in the lavatory with his pants down. When seen from behind, a disguised sheep looks like he’s urinating in a fountain. As part of his regular morning constitutional, Bitzer grabs a roll of toilet paper and heads off behind a large tree. Someone lands headfirst in a large pile of manure. The sheep dress up in a large horse costume, and a man’s head gets lodged in the “animal’s” backside. We hear various farts and belches.
Based on a kids’ TV series, Shaun the Sheep Movie blows out to a full 85 minutes the stop-motion Claymation antics of this family of Mossy Bottom Farm sheep. And sound effects and a musical underscore don’t keep this wooly yarn from feeling like a silent movie of days gone by, seeing as how there’s nary a single discernable word to be heard. Nobody’s had this much silent fun since Harold Lloyd dangled from a clock face by his fingertips.
I must bemoan the passed-gas, sheep-poop and guy-sitting-on-a-commode humor that gets sprayed from the Hollywood honey wagon. And preposterous pratfalls might split the difference at times. But there are plenty of solidly silly circumstances and genuinely giggle-worthy gags tumbling around these cinematic fields, thick as fleece in winter. This pic is as active as it is droll. And it’s just a touch sweet and heartfelt, too.
After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.