Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews
- Category: Jacqueline Monahan
- Published on 30 April 2010
- Written by Jacqueline Monahan
Las Vegas Round The Clock
Jacqueline Monahan is an English tutor for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also a consultant for Columbia College Chicago in Adjunct Faculty Affairs
If animals getting even with rampaging, capitalistic land developers is your cup of tea, you may be initially jazzed by the premise of Furry Vengeance. You may even appreciate the film well into its first hour. The love affair will eventually fade as the jokes get broader, more vulgar, and descend into slapstick silliness, but parts of the journey are enjoyable in a guilty pleasure kind of way.
And speaking of getting broader, the film’s leading man seems to have left his lean, mean days far behind him. You will see what I mean when he appears in a pink running suit, protruding belly jutting over a waistband that also leads to an ample posterior bearing the words “Yum Yum”. I am talking about none other than…
Dan Sanders (Brendan Fraser) who is living in a model home with his model wife Tammy (Brooke Shields) and teenage son Tyler (Matt Prokop). Wife and son are disgruntled about being uprooted from their urban roots in Chicago to live in the middle of a vast natural wilderness. All that’s about to change if big boss Neil Lyman (Ken Jeong) has his way. Lyman wants Sanders to head the latest development project which entails decimating miles of pristine forest and its delicate ecosystems to make way for houses, strip malls, parking lots and other concrete abominations.
The furry woodland population hears about this through its mastermind and staunchest activist, a wily raccoon that apparently understands corporate lingo and its nuances well enough to be able to concoct a full-on war against the human raiders; aided by a ferret, a squirrel, an otter, several skunks, a massive grizzly bear and assorted winged warriors loaded with their own organic waste bombs (crows, seagulls, a vulture), the multi-species brigade bands together for an offensive against the unwelcome invader in their midst.
Unfortunately for Sanders, he’s the designated whipping boy, enduring the combined fury of all of the native fauna in the region. Naturally that means he’s in for embarrassing mishaps, non-stop harassment, dirty tricks and loads of crap (and I do mean literally), all courtesy of a legion of varmint vigilantes carrying out a centuries-old vendetta in the saga of man and animal.
Deemed delusional by his wife, employees, son, and boss, Sanders struggles to get someone to believe him, and even seeks help from a therapist. Now it’s just a matter of which green will triumph – nature or the almighty dollar.
There are some funny scenes, some clever quips, even some skillful animal CGI gestures and reactions. But “some” is not enough; “some” is uneven and disappointing. You must almost literally wade through a river of manure to retrieve a handful of shiny trinkets that looked better from afar than they actually were.
Brendan Fraser is fast becoming the cinematic poster boy for preposterous parables. It’s hard to equate his character with a slick businessman when the entire film is his skunk-sprayed pratfall. Brooke Shields shows a comic flair that’s appealing, and her scenes help to bring a much needed sanity (however brief) to the more frenetic ones. Her character, Tammy, is actually a schoolteacher (not a model – only the house is) and she makes this as believable as she can under the circumstances.
Ken Jeong tries to be funny and sometimes succeeds, especially when he’s screeching in another language. Matt Prokop’s character could be played by any number of young actors, but being the star of High School Musical helps give him youth “cred.” Someone has to speak for the younger generation, even if it is by cell phone.
Director Roger Kumble (College Road Trip) starts his latest effort as a smartass statement about greed and ends it as a bumbled prank full of excrement (human and otherwise). The script, by Michael Carnes and Josh Gilbert (Mr. Woodcock) alternates between mildly offensive humor and gross, inane predictability. The latter yanks away any intelligent or thoughtful message that may have started to percolate with the viewer.
Look for a clever parody of Cyprus Hill’s “Insane in the Membrane” as the end credits roll. Full of cast outtakes, it’s the best thing you’ll encounter on this uneven, dreck-spattered nature walk.