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Kenya
Directed by Andrew Stanton
Produced by Andrea Warren
Screenplay by Andrew Stanton
Seth Grahame-Smith
Simon Stephenson
Story by Andrew Stanton
Starring Owen Laramore
Isabella Rice
Jack Dylan Grazer
Jake Gyllenhaal
Thomas Haden Church
Joan Cusack
Music by Thomas Newman
Cinematography Jean-Claude Kalache
Jeremy Lasky
Edited by Catherine Apple
Kevin Nolting
Production
companies
Walt Disney Pictures
Pixar Animation Studios
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date June 14, 2024
Running time 106 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $175 million
Box office $701 million

Kenya is a 2024 American computer-animated sports comedy film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. The film was directed by Andrew Stanton from a screenplay by Stanton, Seth Grahame-Smith, and Simon Stephenson, and features the voices of Owen Laramore, Isabella Rice, Jack Dylan Grazer, Jake Gyllenhaal, Thomas Haden Church, and Joan Cusack. The film focuses on the titular ten-year-old boy who embarks on a quest to become a baseball player, and reunites with his orphaned nine-year-old friend.

Kenya was released theatrically in the United States on June 14, 2024 to critical acclaim, with praise for the animation, story, humor, voice performances (particularly Laramore's), and Thomas Newman's musical score. It was also successful at the box office, grossing $701 million worldwide against a $175 million budget. The film won several accolades, including the Flamingo Award, Saturn Award, Satellite Award, Annie Award, BAFTA Award, Golden Globe Award, and Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

Plot

Kenya Kes Remington (Owen Laramore) is an orphaned 10-year-old boy who lives in Oregon with his adoptive aunt Clara (Joan Cusack). He dreams of becoming a champion baseball player like his idol, J.S. (Jake Gyllenhaal); however, his friend Fronz Reynolds (Jack Dylan Grazer) needs him to help him at a kids' plant company, Garden Co. One day, Kenya plays baseball by himself, but his ball accidentally destroys Garden Co.'s plants, resulting in the CEO, Mr. Soil (John Ratzenberger), firing him and Fronz.

That night, Kenya learns of a baseball game in California and decides to go there. Kenya travels south for California, with Fronz tagging along to ensure his friend's safety. On the way, Kenya reunites with his friend from daycare, a nine-year-old girl named Kristen (Isabella Rice) and her pet dog, Max. Realizing Kristen is J.S.' daughter, Kenya lets her join in, much to Fronz's chagrin. Kenya, Kristen, a reluctant Fronz, and Max. build a raft and take a shortcut through a giant sewer tunnel that leads them to California. Kristen sadly admits she lost her mother, who gave her a promise to find a baseball career before dying. Kenya decides to adopt her.

The trio approaches the game, and Kenya embraces J.S., who recruits him and Kristen into a team called the Eagles. Everyone takes a liking to Kenya, except for the rival team, the Crows, led by McCrary (Thomas Haden Church). Kenya shows talent in baseball, drawing crowds of people to the stadium as he and Kristen fall in love and develop a romantic relationship. At the practice game, Fronz, jealous and fed up with Kenya and Kristen's growing love, accuses him of leaving him to risk his life chasing an impossible dream, resulting in Fronz and Kenya deciding to go their separate ways. Meanwhile, back at Garden Co., Carla discovers that the destroyed plants have triggered a curse that awakens a plant monster, and sets out to find him.

When the game begins, the Eagles keep score against the Crows. With a minute left, Kenya hits the ball out of the park with great force, and the Eagles win. Carla informs Kenya of the cursed plant monster. With the stadium under attack, Kenya realizes the curse can only be broken if the monster is penetrated by a harpoon. Kenya uses one the monsters vines to climb up the stadium. When the monster is about to grab Kenya, Fronz, having a change of heart, distracts the monster long enough for Kenya to throw the harpoon at the plant monster, destroying the curse.

Kenya is praised for his determination by everyone and reconciles with Fronz. Fronz allows Kenya to share a kiss with Kristen, having come to terms with Kenya making his own decisions. Kenya bids farewell to Carla and Fronz and stays in California with Kristen and J.S. to pursue Kenya's baseball career, while Fronz and Carla return to Oregon. Fronz rejoins Garden Co., and Kenya goes to school with Kristen.

Cast

  • Owen Laramore as Kenya Kes Remington, an optimistic and intelligent 10-year-old boy who dreams of becoming a baseball player.
  • Isabella Rice as Kristen Kaye, an adventurous 10-year-old girl who is J.S.' daughter and Kenya's friend from daycare who has a crush on him.
  • Jack Dylan Grazer as Fronz Reynolds, a 14-year-old boy and Kenya's friend who needs him to help with work at the Garden.
  • Jake Gyllenhaal as J.S., a baseball champion, Kristen's father, Kenya's idol, and the leader of the Eagles.
  • Thomas Haden Church as Mr. McCrary, J.S.' rival and the leader of the Crows.
  • Joan Cusack as Carla Remington, Kenya's adoptive aunt.
  • John Ratzenberger as Mr. Soil. the founder and CEO of the Garden Co company.
  • Andrew Stanton as the umpire

Reception

Box office

Kenya opened in select North American theaters on June 14, 2024, and was projected to gross anywhere around $90 million its opening weekend. It made $200 million in the weekend, having grossed $316 million in North America and $385 internationally, totaling $756 million worldwide, against a $175 million budget, a box office performance that Disney was pleased with.

Critical response

Kenya received massive universal acclaim from critics, who praised the story, humor, animation, voice acting, emotional depth, and Alexandre Desplat's musical score. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 98% approval rating based on 204 reviews. The consensus reads, "Led by a brilliantly skillful voice performance from Owen Laramore, Kenya thrillingly makes up for 102 minutes of a gorgeously animated sports comedy that fits in as another Pixar classic". On Metacritic, it has a score of 91 out of 100 based on 41 critics, indicating "universal acclaim". Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade of "A+" on an A+ to F scale.

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