Movie review XX "Gordy," with Doug Stone, Kristy Young, Michael Roescher. Directed by Mark Lewis. Everett 9, Factoria, Gateway, Grand Cinemas Alderwood, Metro, Newmark, Parkway Plaza. "G" - General audiences.
The scary Omaha slaughterhouse finale of this talking-pig movie could turn a generation of kids into vegetarians, provided "Gordy" enjoys anything like the box-office success of "Beethoven" or "Benji" or any number of other cute-pet-oriented matinee-fillers.
Knives are sharpened. Doors slam shut. Baby pigs and mommies are trapped and surrounded. Evil-looking processing-plant workers prepare to make their escape impossible.
Although several opportunities for suspense are squandered in this poorly edited sequence, the idea behind it comes through loud and clear: The hero's family is about to be transformed into sausages.
The title character is a darling pig (voice by Justin Garms) whose parents and siblings are sold when idyllic Meadowbrook Farm goes bankrupt. Knowing only that they've been sent "up north," and that his father was taken by a couple of gun-happy men whose license plate reads "America, Love It or Leave It," Gordy sets out to find them.
While he has no trouble talking to other animals, Gordy finds it difficult to communicate with humans, who can understand him only if they're "pure in heart - like us kids!," as one child boastfully announces.
The pig's favorite little girl (Kristy Young), a precocious singer known as "The First Little Lady of Country Music," is fond of saying things like "I just want everyone to be happy." She's so self-sacrificing that she gives Gordy to the lonely boy (Michael Roescher) Gordy has just saved from drowning.
When the boy's millionaire grandfather dies and shuts his naive daughter (Deborah Hobart) and her greedy fiance (James Donadio) out of the will, Gordy winds up as the CEO of the company. He's even featured on magazine covers and interviewed on television by Louis Rukeyser. Gordy turns out to be a natural media star. "He's lovable, he gives people hope," says one admirer. After all, "if a pig can make it, anyone can."
But the country-music-hating Donadio, who sports a haircut that looks like a fright wig and says traitorous things like "You've heard one hillbilly, you've heard them all," hatches a plot to kidnap Gordy and do away with him. Meanwhile, Hobart is making eyes at Young's father, played by recording star Doug Stone, who has all the screen presence of Glen Campbell.
Alas, "Gordy" is no "Charlotte's Web." It's not even a threat to "Mr. Ed." There's almost no attempt to match up the animals' lip movements with their "voices." A last-act attempt to impersonate President Clinton's voice is equally amateurish.
Worse, the filmmakers' notions about the intricacies of corporate backstabbing are so laughable that it's hard to credit their occasional attempts at deliberate satire (it's also hard to believe "Gordy" is the work of the clever Australian director, Mark Lewis, who made the ingenious documentary parody, "Cane Toads"). Much of this will bore small children, who will be "Gordy's" chief audience, and annoy parents.
However, kids aren't likely to snooze through that horror-movie finale. "G" rating or not, it's the stuff of nightmares.