Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett-Smith

Directed by Eric Darnell, Conrad Vernon
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 2
Community: star rating
5 2 0
May 25, 2005

Less like Shrek, meaning hilarious and heartfelt, and more like Shark Tale, meaning manic and exhausting, Madagascar will keep kids distracted without transporting them to wonderland. Unlike recent age-crossing animated goodies (The Incredibles, Spirited Away), Madagascar is juvenile and deeply generic. The plot? Alex the lion (voiced by Ben Stiller) is living large on steak and applause at New York's Central Park Zoo. The same goes for Gloria the hippo (street-sassed by Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman the hypochondriac giraffe (David Schwimmer, annoyingly whiny). The only complaints come from Marty the zebra (Chris Rock, whose potty mouth hasn't been this zippered since the Oscars). Marty's dreams of the wild prompt an escape for the pampered city critters, along with some rogue penguins. Tom McGrath, who co-directed the movie with Eric Darnell, does the voice of Skipper, the head penguin, and his droll wickedness is delicious. It's when the animals hit tropical Madagascar, ruled by King Julien XIII — a lemur hilariously voiced by Sacha Baron Cohen (Ali G to you) — that the trouble ts. The king enlists the "New York giants" to scare off the predatory Foosa. But Alex, his own lion instincts aroused, digs his teeth into Marty's zebra butt. He'll take his steak where he can get it. After offering this PG lesson about the food chain — is a friend still a friend if you want to eat him? — the movie sadly runs aground on old gags that no amount of eye-popping color and frenzied action can spin into gold.

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories


    Nelly Furtado with Timbaland | 2006

    This club-oriented single featuring Timbaland, who produced Nelly Furtado's third album, Loose, was Furtado’s sexy return after the Canadian singer's exploration of her Portuguese heritage on Folklore. "In the studio, initially I didn’t know if I could do it, 'cause Timbaland wrote that chorus," Furtado said. "I'm like, 'That's cool, but I don't know if I'm ready to do full-out club.'" The flirty lyrics are a dance between a guy and girl, each knowing they will end up in bed together but still playing the game. "Tim and I called it 'The BlackBerry Song,' she said, "because everything we say in the song you could text-message to somebody."

    More Song Stories entries »