Racing Stripes [2005]

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Drama
When you start watching Racing Stripes, you may not be prepared for how unbelievably cute a young zebra is. A travelling circus accidently abandons an adorably helpless zebra in the middle of Kentucky on a stormy night. Fortunately, the wee zebra is found by Nolan Walsh (Bruce Greenwood, The Sweet Hereafter), a brilliant horse trainer who's given up his calling after a riding accident that killed his wife. His daughter Channing (Hayden Panettiere, Raising Helen) names the zebra Stripes and, before you know it, Stripes has grown to young adulthood and is aching to race at a nearby track. Thus begins a fairly formulaic triumph-over-adversity tale combined with talking animals--but Racing Stripes understands its formula and executes it without any pretensions. It doesn't hit the bullseye struck by Babe (an earlier triumph-over-adversity tale combined with talking animals), and there are bad puns and gags aplenty, but Greenwood's solid presence gives the movie an unexpected emotional fullness. Featuring a bizarre assortment of voices for the animals, including Whoopi Goldberg, Dustin Hoffman, Frankie Muniz, Mandy Moore, Joe Pantoliano (as a Mafioso pelican), Steve Harvey, David Spade, and Snoop Dogg. --Bret Fetzer

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