It kind of bullyish to knock a film as gentle as this big-screen
showcase for the beloved, bouncy staple (voiced by Jim Cummings) of A.A.
Milne's _Winnie_the_Pooh_ books, but I'm afraid that's what I'm going to
do. All the familiar characters in the Hundred Acre Wood--Tigger, Pooh
(also voiced by Cummings), Piglet (John Fiedler), Eeyore (Peter Cullen),
Rabbit (Ken Sansom), Owl (Andre Stojka), Kanga (Kath Soucie), and Roo
(Nikita Hopkins)--are as cute and charming as they have ever been (which
accounts for their enduring appeal), but cuteness can only go so far in
keeping an obvious, if warm and well-meaning, story interesting to
adults. The plot has Tigger, who had always said that "the wonderful
thing about tiggers is I'm the only one," searching for the family he
never knew. The outcome of the story--and its moral--will be quite
apparent to adults in the early going, and the slapsticky gags that fill
the space in between will hold only faint interest to those older than 9.
What are obviously designed to keep the grown-ups interested are the
songs by _Pooh_ veterans the Sherman Brothers, Richard M. and Robert B.
There's a curious choice at the heart of the song score: for some reason
screenwriter-director Jun Falkenstein decided to shoehorn
_The_Tigger_Movie_ into the traditional Disney musical formula. So
Tigger gets his own "I Want" song, as well as a big showstopping
production number. Both songs --and the others--are pleasant enough (if
not terribly memorable), but I wish that Disney let Pooh be Pooh, Tigger
be Tigger; the production number feels especially out of place, taking
the action away from the Hundred Acre Wood and into Tigger's surreal
Busby Berkeley/"Be Our Guest"-style fantasies. Tigger and his friends
have remained family favorites over the years by remaining themselves,
and the studio should have had more faith in them to not mold it into the
cookie cutter it had already begun to shy away from. Of course, kids
won't care, and _The_Tigger_Movie_ will finds its true worth on video,
for it'll make an ideal 76-minute babysitter.