Today! Because it’s not the first time I was tossed out of a window, and it won’t be the last –
The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)
Directed by Mark Dindal
Starring David Spade, John Goodman (x4), Eartha Kitt, Patrick Warburton (x2), Wendie Malick (x2), Tom Jones (x2), Patti Deutsch
Pound for pound one of the funniest animated movies ever made, The Emperor’s New Groove snuck into theaters around Christmas 2000 and opened to approximately zilch. Okay, that’s not 100% accurate, but it sure didn’t open well – was everyone aware this thing was coming out? – but it managed to hang around forever, ultimately putting up nearly a 9X multiplier from its first weekend, which if you know anything about box office is an insane number. Word of mouth caught on and saved a near disaster!
But its popularity would’ve gotten there eventually either way. New Groove is surprisingly funny, amazingly so, even if you’re not a particularly big fan of David Spade. I’m an old SNL devotee from way back, though, so this was not a drawback. His work here, as the egocentric emperor turned into a llama, is perfect – just the right actor in just the right part. Animated films – especially from this era – could be really hit or miss in this area. The mania to put huge movie stars into voice roles was a great marketing/publicity tool, but didn’t always serve the film best (I don’t want to get into specifics, but virtually all late ’90s Disney films suffer from this at least a little bit).