"For centuries now, man has done everything he can to destroy, defile, and interfere with nature: Clear-cutting forests, strip-mining mountains, poisoning the atmosphere, over-fishing the oceans, polluting the rivers and lakes, destroying wetlands and aquifers. So when nature strikes back, and smacks him on the head ... I enjoy that. I have absolutely no sympathy for human beings whatsoever. None." - George Carlin from his standup special "Life is Worth Losing"
Given this depressingly nihilistic viewpoint, there's a good chance Carlin would have enjoyed "Furry Vengeance," not only because nature strikes back, but also because it strikes in the most unbelievably juvenile and inane ways. He always did enjoy excess. I'm sure he would have laughed each time Brendan Fraser found himself in a car full of skunks, which spray him in amounts so vast, the car appears to be filled with fog. And what about the scene where he gets trapped in a port-o-potty, which is tossed around by a bear until it ends up in a tree, and is then found the next morning and opened by a construction crew? We don't see Fraser in that shot, but the shock on everyone else's face tells us everything we need to know. Oh yes. I'm sure Carlin would have loved that. Nature struck back. Man got what he deserved.
But enough about Carlin. Let's talk about Fraser, who's not only the star of "Furry Vengeance" but is also one of the executive producers. What was it about this project that prompted him to get it financed? Did he enjoy the jokes that were stretched beyond the breaking point despite not being funny to begin with? Did he relish the idea of humiliating himself on the screen, as when his character finds himself without clothing and is forced to wear his wife's pink sweats, the pants of which have the words "yum yum" written on the rear end? Perhaps he was blindsided by the film's message of saving the environment and being kind to our woodland friends. Of course, it's a very good, very relevant message, and I support it wholeheartedly. But there's nothing to be gained by sending it in this particular way. Activism should be encouraged through facts; it should not be at the mercy of filmmakers with four-year-old mentalities.
This is a desperately unfunny movie - so unfunny that it doesn't even inspire incredulous laughter. It's an idiotic family comedy so contrived, goofy, broad, sappy, and strained that watching it is downright painful. It makes not the slightest effort in the ways of characterization, plot, or even basic entertainment. Fraser plays Dan Sanders, a Chicago real estate developer; he and his family have moved into a forest community, where he can oversee the construction of homes in an area teeming with wildlife. His wife, Tammy (Brooke Shields), and teenage son, Tyler (Matt Prokop), were happier in Chicago and spend the entire movie making him feel terrible. This is especially true of Tyler, who sulks and back-talks before meeting his school's student librarian (Skyler Samuels) and becoming an environmental activist.
Naturally, the animals that live in the forest aren't too happy about what Sanders is taking part in. But then a raccoon gets wind of the second phase of development, conceived of by Sanders' condescending boss, Neal Lyman (Ken Jeong): A forest themed shopping mall. And because Sanders caves in to Lyman's demands, the raccoon and his legion of woodland creatures declare war on him. Thus begins a series of scenes in which animals of all sorts do everything they can to make his life a living hell. Some tactics are more psychological, like a bird that repeatedly taps on his bedroom window as he tries to sleep. Strange that Tammy is unable to hear it; she is, after all, in the same room as her husband. Other tactics are physical - punching, clawing, urinating, biting, stealing his clothes, and even feats of pure fantasy, such as when the raccoon and a family of skunks hotwire his car and go on a joyride. In the end, he always ends up embarrassing himself, especially in front of his family, who, of course, think he's going crazy.
In between moments of moronic slapstick are throwaway gags that have no business being in the movie. Take, for example, an obnoxious security guard (Alexander Chase) who appears at Tammy's doorstep every time her husband goes missing; he's always disappointed whenever Sanders reappears because he no longer has any reason to accuse Tammy of murder. And then there's Mrs. Martin, the elderly schoolteacher (Alice Drummond); when Tammy begins coordinating an annual forest festival, Mrs. Martin enthusiastically remembers that she loves painting pinecones. That's about the only thing she remembers. Ha ha, the old woman is going senile.
Oh, what an awful movie. Who thought making it was a good idea? Who read the screenplay and found it funny? Who deluded themselves into believing that it was appropriate for children? Judging by the fact that no child or adult in the audience laughed, it seems "Furry Vengeance" was made with no one in mind - save, maybe, for bitter misanthropes who get a thrill from watching animals get back at their two-legged oppressors. Why was Fraser involved with it? Is he at a point now where he's artistically bankrupt? "Journey to the Center of the Earth" and "Extraordinary Measures" were no masterpieces, but they were a lot better than this. Why was Shields involved? Is she not more established? Such a mystery.
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Chris Pandolfi (Chris_Pandolfi)
Growing up a shy kid in a quiet suburb of Los Angeles, Chris Pandolfi knows all about the imagination. Pretend games were always the most fun for him, especially on the school playground; he and his … more
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Humans are out to destroy the forest in the name of progress, but the animals that live there won't go out without a fight. We've seen it before in films likeOver the Hedge, but this time it's a green, eco-friendly company versus a very organized group of animals under the leadership of a clever raccoon. Dan (Brendan Fraser) is the project manager who has moved his family from Chicago to the middle of an Oregon forest to live on-site in the community's model home. His wife Tammy (Brooke Shields) and son Tyler (Matt Prokop) aren't particularly happy about the move, but how bad can it be for one year? When unforeseen obstacles like an inconveniently located beaver dam threaten to slow progress and put the project over budget, Dan's commitment to eco-friendly methods is tested and his son dubs him a hypocrite. The animals start fighting back in a very organized, conniving way, but all Tammy sees is that Dan is beginning to go a little bit crazy. When phase 2 of the development is unveiled and the opportunity to head up the project, along with a considerable raise, is presented to Dan, he accepts without regard for the forest animals or his family. After suffering everything from a wet crotch resulting from a chewed sprinkler line to repeated skunk sprayings, a run-in with a swarm of bees, and an encounter with an insistently pecking crow that almost gets him killed, Dan begins to reconsider what's really important in life. This basic plot has been the...