A few months ago, we discussed Brendan Fraser’s inherent ability to react to CGI-accentuated figments of his imagination. Interestingly, Fraser has actually improved upon this talent but now gamely abandons all pride in what amounts to a most shameful entry into the already inauspicious (and entirely non-official) “rodents of doom” subgenre (see also Alvin and the Motherfucking Chipmunks and G-Force) of live-action/CGI family-friendly flicks. Furry Vengeance comes from the do-gooders at Participant Media, the makers of Food, Inc. and The Cove, who are ill-equipped in the art of narrative framework but have plenty of righteous indignation with which to justify their endless montage. Unfortunately, the movie’s message never comes through and is buried under a mountain of sadistic pratfalls and humiliations for its lead actor. Yet, in its own strange, surrealistic sort of way, Furry Vengeance results in the slightest bit of voyeuristic pleasure since I, too, would like to kick Brendan Fraser in the balls.
Now, if Dustin can blame the Bush administration for Jackie Earle Haley’s voice coming out of Freddy Kruger’s head, then I shall blame Al Gore for Furry Vengeance. This movie is Al Gore’s wet dream wrapped up in a Home Alone homage and soaked with the waste from every member of the titular flock of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. Furry Vengeance is a sort of live-action Looney Tunes take upon M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening if it were G-rated and replaced all the suicidal humans with one hapless idiot — Fraser — who is hell bent on killing his own career. At the very least, this isn’t a 3-D movie, and the animals don’t talk either, but they do communicate with thought bubbles. Then again, I’d expect little else from Roger Kumble in his follow up to College Road Trip.
What little story exists in the movie doesn’t give much room for thought. An opportunistic businessman, Dan Sanders (Fraser), moves with his wife, Tammy (Brooke Shields) and teenaged son, Tyler (Matt Prokop), to the Pacific Northwest in search of
sparkling vampires manifest destiny. Officially, Dan is tasked with overseeing some upper-middle class property development for a so-called “eco-friendly” green PR company. However, everything goes wrong when Dan is assaulted by a racoon-led army of (mostly CGI) squirrels, birds, rabbits, leeches, and possums. Evidently, these sadistically sentient creatures have been defending their home turf for decades, and they’re not gonna let some jackass intrude on their happiness. So, the animals humiliate the hell out of Dan by raining bird crap upon him, biting his crotch, peeing in his mouth, and trapping him in a port-o-potty before turning it over. Naturally, the animals have covert tactics and manage to make Dan’s family believe that he’s essentially making it all up and has gone batshit crazy. Somehow — and I’m not sure how this happens — Dan even ends up cross-dressed in his wife’s bra and pink workout pants, but I suppose that a draq queen joke goes right along with the vague homophobic vibe already present in the construction workers’ behavior. As a bonus, the movie also makes quite handy fun of the elderly along with the always hilarious but easily scripted Indian and Asian racial stereotypes.
Eventually and quite predictably, Fraser’s character relents and pulls the plug on the development, but this doesn’t happen until he’s sprayed thrice by skunks and ends up referring to himself as “Mr. Pee Pee Pants.” Dan doesn’t even really learn from the experience of getting hit in the balls, unless one considers a (very) delayed Pavlovian response to impart some particular wisdom from the endured ordeals. Similarly, the preschool and kindergarten crowd will laugh uproariously at Fraser’s slapstick method of flailing about, but these kiddies won’t gain any sort of eco-consciousness, learn anything about saving the environment, or develop the desire to preserve the habitat these rather sadistic animals. Tellingly, this stuff is even too immature for most elementary schoolers, as is evidenced by my kid’s uncharacteristic refusal (based upon the trailer alone) to even watch this movie.
The worst part of Furry Vengeance (and it’s a tough call, really) is that there’s a half-worthwhile message beneath the Fraser-illustrated madness. Unfortunately, that message is buried beneath piles of bird crap and emblazoned upon porcupine quills shot into Fraser’s rather hefty rear end. Speaking of which, Brendan Frasier has really let his ass go. Goodbye, George of the Jungle abs. And I say this all in the spirit of every male critic who has lamented the effects of gravity upon aging starlet boobs or the slightly less taut ass cheeks of a thirty-year old actress. It’s about damn time that men started feeling the pressure to remain hot young things forever as well. Brendan Fraser, start picking better scripts. Then, go to the gym.
Agent Bedhead lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She and her little black heart can be found at agentbedhead.com.