by Susan Starr and Kevin Kocur
“Motocross Kids” is a star-studded extravaganza featuring Phyllis Diller, Lorenzo Lamas, Gary Busey, Dan Haggerty and Evan Marriot (of Joe Millionaire “fame”). If that isn’t enough to convince MMM readers to rush out and rent this movie then you should know that it also features bumbling, evil chopper riders, a chess playing Golden Retriever and a Motocross riding chimpanzee.
Now that your curiosity is piqued I know you’ll want to hear about the plot, which is straight out of Generic Screenwriting 101. Bear Madigan (Haggerty) owns the Bony Pony Ranch that serves as a motocross school for kids and a wild animal preserve. He owes money to the Evil Bikers led by the Evil Viper (Busey) and is about to lose his ranch. Bear’s buddy Evan Reed (Lamas) shows up to visit and tries to help his friend hold on to the ranch. Somehow the bikers have taken over the local bank and foreclosed on the ranch but have no way to get Bear to leave. Since there are apparently no police, courts or parents in the world of this movie, the kids at the motocross school (Josh Hutcherson, Alexa Nikolas, Bobby Preston) challenge Viper’s kids to a race to determine the ownership of the ranch.
Of course, the most talented kid training at the ranch breaks his arm before the big race. Oh no! It looks like the Bony Pony Ranch will be lost! Until Evan discovers that Cody, Bear’s pet chimp, is an expert rider. Then the Evil bikers steal the kid’s bikes. Oh no! It again looks like the ranch will be lost! But at the last minute Evan’s daughter, the retired motocross champ Callie (Alana Austin) shows up with some product placed equipment from Cobra. I won’t tell you anymore because I don’t want to spoil the movie for those of you who are motivated by this review to go out and rent it.
So, I had the best intentions: go and find a family friendly moto-flick the whole gang can watch together. For my efforts I nearly had to go to the dentist due to cavities surely caused by all of the sugary sweetness delivered by this film. Yes, the kids all love Bear and Cody the chimp, young Katie loves her moto-idol Callie, even Evan who starts out hating animals in the beginning ends up loving Cody. And of course we’re treated to endless musical montages of them all frolicking on the ranch. There are so many scenes of “wacky” animal humor that I’m thinking this movie might have been made for Animal Planet&endash;a monkey on a motorcycle equals comedy gold. At least the movie promotes rider safety by having the members of the biker gang wear their helmets at all times. Even when they are off the bikes and sneaking into the ranch to cause wacky mayhem. Safety first!
Although there were a few shots of riding in the desert and some actual footage taken from the indoor Supercross series, most of the shots were of the kids practicing on the track, with endless artsy slo-mo shots of them getting air, and the obligatory shots of the Evil Biker gang, The Pirates (“arrrrgh!”) riding up to the ranch with the sole intention of hassling Bear and threatening to take away his ranch.Although we don’t condone drinking in front of the kiddies, Susan and I decided that this movie could easily become a drinking game: everyone does a shot whenever someone in the film says the line “We have to save the ranch”. You will be wasted before the movie is half over.
Movie note: Alana Austin (Callie) had appeared in a previous Disney channel movie called “Motocrossed” (plus she’s scheduled to appear in “Supercross-The Movie” and ‘Monster Jam-The Movie”) but I don’t know if it’s because she’s a rider or that her dad is the movies’ producer. Evan Marriot was surprisingly effective portraying a stupid jerk who was both mean and just plain dumb. Although having seen Joe Millionaire, I don’t think he was acting….