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Movie review: ‘Furry Vengeance’

It’s a green gross-out. The environmental family film starring Brendan Fraser and Brooke Shields focuses too much on bodily functions.

April 30, 2010|By Glenn Whipp, Special to the Los Angeles Times
  • Brendan Fraser in "Furry Vengeance."
Brendan Fraser in "Furry Vengeance." (Summit Entertainment )

You'd think that if you had an up-with-the-environment family movie in the can, you would have tied it to Earth Day and opened it last weekend. Unless, of course, that movie is "Furry Vengeance," a film so exhausting in its mean-spirited unfunny business that it would prompt Al Gore to empty his recycling bin and light a match to the contents — and the plastic bin itself — in full view of news camera crews.

"Furry Vengeance" fashions itself as a green movie, but given its single-minded focus on bodily functions and the area of the anatomy that headliner Brendan Fraser calls the "no-no zone," the film is awash in an entirely different color, if you get my drift. (And I don't think you want to.)

It's as if writers Michael Carnes and Josh Gilbert ("Mr. Woodcock") watched the DreamWorks animated movie "Over the Hedge" and thought: "That rocked! Except … well … it really came up short in the excrement department. Wait a minute … what if …?" "Furry Vengeance" answers that question, taking the rough outline of "Hedge," running it through the filter of "Daddy Day Care" and producing a movie that even your 9-year-old will hate you for taking them to see. (Mine did. But I bought her yogurt afterward and we're OK now.)

The premise is simple. Chirping, resistance-minded forest animals don't want their trees bulldozed and are willing to go Charles Bronson on anyone who revs up a chain saw. One craven capitalist tries, and the critters launch his Porsche off a cliff. (This gag works only when the Roadrunner pulls it on Wile E. Coyote.) Next in line: doughy developer Dan Sanders (Fraser).

Fraser seems to have put on a good 25 pounds for the role. Why? So he could use the extra girth to strap on a too-small bra and hop around wearing a pink sweat suit belonging to his wife (a long-suffering Brooke Shields). Robert De Niro's Jake La Motta would probably tell Fraser it wasn't worth it. And then he'd probably clock him.

Director Roger Kumble ("Cruel Intentions") somehow makes everything — the repeated (five times!) skunk blasts, the crotch-gnawing raccoons, the bear overturning the portable toilet with Fraser trapped inside — even less funny than you'd imagine. It's a long sit, even at 91 minutes. Squirmers would be better served by a hike in an actual forest. Just take the long way around any suspicious-looking squirrels waving their adorable little paws at you.

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