- MPAA: Rated PG for rude humor, mild language, and brief smoking
- Runtime: 92 minutes
Furry Vengeance is a little boring, fairly annoying, and stuffed to the gills with slapstick comedy and crotch abuse. Sounds like fun, huh? Even if you are a fan of low humor, you will still walk away unsatisfied from this flick. Movies like these should make us wonder, “Where do we draw the line for kid’s films?”
The general idea of the plot isn’t a terrible one. Dan Sanders (Brendan Fraser) is a doughy real estate developer. He moves his wife (Brooke Shields) and teen son (Matt Prokop) into “Phase 1” of a new development plot, which happens to be out in the forest. His family are city folk: they aren’t adjusting well and are on his case about wanting to go home. Dan works for a screechy Korean boss (Ken Jeong) who claims that their company is “green,” but naturally, their methods are very hypocritical. He finds out the company wants to do more than just build a few houses; they want to tear down the entire forest and turn it into shopping malls, suburbs, etc. As if that weren’t enough, it just so happens that some really crafty animals live in this forest, and they aren’t going to let them tear it down with out a fight!
The dialog was pretty devoid of humor. The actors ended up mugging for the camera to get a laugh when the dialog faltered, which gets pretty old after the first twenty minutes. Actually, a lot of the plot was pretty adult in content, and by that I mean there was a lot of ‘ecological’ and ‘economic’ centered conversations. To ensure they didn’t lose the kids’ interest during all the grown up talk, they would throw in a shot of a sly raccoon listening in and growling with a “Babe” inspired CGI scowl.
The animal characters were cute and thankfully they didn’t talk. Unfortunately, director Roger Kumble (College Road Trip, The Sweetest Thing) decided to give all the animals human-sounding vocals. There’s a barrage of coos and grumbles that can be made out as “uh-ohs” or sighs of relief…remember Gizmo from Gremlins? Same thing, only it’s not as cute when you add CGI brow lifts and wagging jaws. I’m not going to comment too much on the human actors’ performances. They weren’t good, but they weren’t exactly given much to work with either.
A raccoon orchestrates the attack on our hero that includes antics ranging from spraying him with skunk scent, to several ‘nut-shots,’ to an elaborate Mouse Trap-style release of a boulder to knock cars off cliffs. Some of the blunders got a rise out of the kids in the audience, but they were few and far between. The graphics were sub-par, and I noticed some issues with the editing. You would see a short clip of an animal making a motion, then see it pause and rewind to lengthen the shot. I understand it’s not easy to get woodland creatures to behave the way you want, but there must be a way to smooth something like that over. The rewinding of footage was fairly frequent, as well as the re-use of clips. It was pretty distracting, to say the least.
On top of all the slapstick, there were a few jokes that were just a little off-putting. Jeong does his usual sing-song Korean exaggeration, but he puts some stank on it this time and goes way over the top. There’s also some poking fun at Alzheimer’s, prancing Fraser around in a women’s skin-tight jogging suit, and a “mushroom tea” induced nightmare. It felt like writers Michael Carnes and Josh Gilbert were just flailing around and grasping at straws.
While Furry Vengeance may claim to be a family movie and has ‘family approval’ stamps from The Dove Foundation and The Film Advisory Board, it’s really just your run-of-the-mill low comedy with a dumbed-down plot. Kids are smarter than people think, and although slapstick can get them giggling, why not make a movie with a decent plot and a few complex (but kid appropriate) jokes? I think Furry Vengeance was attempting to give a little sophistication to it’s dialog with all the enviro-talk, but it just didn’t gel with all the physical antics. It ends up being boring for everyone. If your kids are absolutely dying to see this, I would suggest waiting until it hits Red Box. Otherwise, you’re in for a long and expensive 92 minutes of torture.
I give Furry Vengeance 1.5 “Stupid Animals” out of 5.
by Rachael Edwards Hite