“The Star” – PG

By David S. Adams - For The Lima News

The Story

“Things are changing,” says young donkey Bo (voice of Steven Yeun), “I’m not going to be here forever.” Bo works with Old Donkey (voice of Kris Kristofferson) at a grist mill in Nazareth. Down on his luck, Old Donkey says, “I’m okay here; I hope you find what you’re looking for.” That’s the setup for “The Star,” animated version of the Christmas story, told through the adventures of talking animals.

Will Bo finally experience the adventures of his dreams? Does best friend Dave the dove (voice of Keegan-Michael Key) realize his lofty ambitions? Can lost sheep Ruth (voice of Aidy Bryant) find her missing flock? For answers to these and other questions, see “The Star.”

The Actors

Dozens of animals — and a handful of humans — populate the large cast of “The Star.” The central animal character is earnest Bo who, injured during his escape from grinding work at the mill, is tended by sympathetic Mary. Steven Yeun voices Bo; Gina Rodriguez is the voice of thoughtful Mary. Zachary Levi is a young, serious-minded, but sometimes klutzy, Joseph. Christopher Plummer voices duplicitous King Herod. Bo’s best friend, Dave the dove, has dreams of flying with a royal procession. He’s also got the best jokes. Keegan-Michael Key is Dave’s voice. (In this film, animals talk to each other; not to humans.)

Others in the cast include Aidy Bryant as Ruth the sheep, enthusiastic follower of the Christmas star, even though it leads her away from her flock. Tyler Perry, Tracy Morgan and Ophrah Winfrey are the wise men’s camels, of which Winfrey’s Deborah is the smartest by a long shot. Vicious dogs, not-too-bright Thaddeus and Rufus, dispatched by Herod to follow Mary and Joseph, are voiced by Ving Rhames and Gabriel Iglesias.

Other Comments

“The Star” has its heart in the right place for the Christmas story — Mary, Joseph, angels, wise men, shepherds — but does not blend, successfully, dozens of comic animals it adds to the mix. Silly animal jokes, aural and visual, are lame and (mostly) unfunny. When I saw “The Star,” the audience laughed only at an early poop joke and the first of many butt jokes. Slapstick chase sequences are for kids, and add little to adult pleasures of the film. Only Ruth the sheep and Deborah the camel, two smart females, help us understand the nativity. On the other hand, male animals – donkey, dove, camels, dogs, et al – are not the brightest bulbs in the box. Neither, for that matter, are the clueless wise men whose dumb frankincense joke is painfully bad.

Rated PG for thematic elements, “The Star” runs 86 minutes. It’s a talking animals cartoon. The Christmas story’s there, but not, until the end, up front.

Final Words

Animated “Star” brings

Silly camels, donkey, dove

To Christmas nativity —

Not much fun, nor much to love.


By David S. Adams

For The Lima News

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