The Emperor's New Groove (2000)
Main cast: David Spade (Kuzco), John Goodman (Pacha), Eartha Kitt (Yzma), and Patrick Warburton (Kronk)
Directors: Mark Dinal and David Reynolds

Hey, hey, hey, a Disney cartoon that isn't based on a fairy tale (this is no The Emperor's New Clothes rehash, has only one singing-and-dancing scene, no romance, no outcast hero singing about finding some long-lost mommy and daddy... can it work? Why, if The Emperor's New Groove is any indication, yes, it does. Amazingly.

Non-stop funny jokes that poke fun at everything imaginable, sometimes even at its previous Disney cartoon brothers and sisters, The Emperor's New Groove is pure magic. It tells about this impossibly arrogant and self-absorbed young emperor Kuzco who reigns about the Andean empire in South America. He informs Pacha, a village headman, that he has one day to evict his villagers, because hey, Emperor Kuzco wants a holiday inn resort on that hill where Pacha's people lives.

Kuzco's elderly advisor Yzma schemes, however, and she and her not-too-bright toyboy Kronk turn Kuzco into a llama. Now Llama Kuzco has to team up with Pacha to help him be human again. Pacha, convinced that this young lad is a decent guy under all the self-centered posturing, agrees, but even his gentle nature will be tested by Kuzco before long.

I'm not sure if prepubescents will get the jokes in The Emperor's New Groove. This movie will be better appreciated by the over-13 crowd. But it's delicious fun when Kuzco, Yzma, and Pacha trade all sort of insults/banters that puncture everything derivative and trite about male-bonding movies. Watch them not trying to indulge in mawkish male-bonding soul baring talk moments and laugh when they fail. Watch Yzma's hilarious attempts at breaking the glass ceiling. And Kronk is so camp as the loonybin villain sidekick who has no idea what he is doing most of the time, he is just fun to watch.

And the last half hour is the funniest, craziest, and nonsensical confrontations ever!

Packed with non-stop crazy jokes that work and a surprisingly intelligent satire on cartoon genres, The Emperor's New Groove is pure exuberant entertainment without a single moment of boredom. Non-stop laugh-a-minute fun is on the agenda, and it's a snapping good one.

Rating: 93

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