Free Birds fails to carve up a winning recipe for the holiday season. No, I'm not talking about the delicious burrito chain-- I'm referring to the new uninspiring film from director Jimmy Hayward. Free Birds is about a very intelligent barnyard turkey named Reggie (voiced by Owen Wilson), who seems to be the only one of his kind that understands what happens to turkeys after they fatten up on corn feed. Luckily for him, he is pardoned by the President as part of an annual tradition at the farm and whisked off to Camp David by the President's hyperactive daughter to live out his days in luxury. Except the universe has bigger plans for him in the form of another, less intuitive turkey named Jake (Woody Harrelson) who, out of nowhere, kidnaps Reggie and asks him to travel back in time to change Thanksgiving's dinner menu. The dynamic duo is transported back in time to the first Thanksgiving by S.T.E.V.E. (George Takei) a giant, wisecracking, space egg device. When they arrive they are spotted by the evil Myles Standish (Colm Meaney) who plans to use them as part of the Thanksgiving feast. Call it swift justice, call it a message from turkey heaven, our feathered friends are rescued by a quirky female turkey named Jenny (Amy Poehler) who, of course, Reggie falls for instantly. With the help of Jenny's turkey tribe, Reggie and Jake come up with a plan to stop the humans from enjoying turkey, the turducken, and eventually the turkey burger.
Free Birds misfires from the beginning with too much piled on its plate, which is a shame because this film has potential. Most of the jokes fall flat, and every stereotype you can think of is played out ineffectively. The story is also very predictable, which is fine for a PG-rated kid's film, if it's done properly. This film does not. The cast boasts some of the best comedic talent in the business, but none of the actors are used as effectively as they could have been. One of the other glaring issues the film suffers from is that it feels very two dimensional with only a few scenes near the beginning that actually implement the use of 3D. Even with a promising premise and a talented cast, Free Birds fails to keep turkey off the Thanksgiving menu this year.