FREE BIRDS (U) Pavilion

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Rural myth: turkeys are stupid. Wild turkeys, on the other hand, are free. And stupid.

This oddly misplaced animated movie makes fun of the stupid bit, but quickly becomes embroiled – or is that boiled? – in a complicated story of a pardoned turkey that becomes the pet of the US president’s daughter and then goes back in time to 1621 in order to stop the original settlers from choosing his forebears as their main course at Thanksgiving.

Children younger than seven and older than 70 won’t have a clue what is going on. A time machine, called Steve, that looks like a translucent egg? Native American turkeys in war paint? The leader of the colonial garrison with the facial features of a starved rat? Eh?

The CGI animation is below average. These aren’t turkeys. They are aliens in disguise. The script is dangerously low on laughs and appears charmless, despite Owen Wilson’s vocal support.

The title implies that battery fowl will soon be fox meat in feral forests and from now on Americans will be celebrating Thanksgiving with rabbit stew. Sorry, guys. The birds are back. They never went away.

Next up? Rabbie Nut, a vegetarian alternative, voiced by James McAvoy and Brian Cox, about a flying haggis that failed the screen test for How To Train Your Dragon.