As an initial disclaimer and despite the endless begging of a certain eight-year old, I chose to view the 2-D version of G-Force for this review. The reason for this choice, quite simply, was that I grew nauseated while merely watching G-Force’s 3-D theatrical trailers, and, ideally, a film review is not aided by the act of vomiting into one’s popcorn bag. Besides, the story is what really should matter in a review, not the demonstrated ability for a film to paddleball an audience into oblivion. This latest wave of 3-D (aside from Coraline and Up) proves that certain filmmakers’ gimmicky tendencies are only growing more obnoxious with time, but, as it turns out, the 3D wasn’t even necessary for G-Force to trigger the urge to purge.
Imagine experiencing, at warp speed and for 90 minutes, the reality of the infamous Richard Gere gerbil joke. Next, add a bunch of “clever” allusions to authentic films of varying quality: Die Hard, Mission: Impossible, Scarface, Apocalypse Now, Indiana Jones, and Transformers. Then, throw on a superficial layer of cutesy references to such bastions of pop culture as the Pussycat Dolls and “Pimp My Ride” before accessorizing with a throbbing Black Eyed Peas musical accompaniment. It is through this unholy mating of Walt Disney Studios with producer Jerry Bruckheimer that G-Force was spawned. If Bruckheimer’s presence ain’t enough to convince you that this movie is awash with meaningless action, then consider the fact that the director, Hoyt Yeatman, is not only a veteran Hollywood effects pro but also, quite tellingly, was the visual effects supervisor for Armageddon and The Rock, both of which were directed by Michael “BOOM!” Bay. With G-Force, Yeatman makes his feature-length directing debut with a bunch of anthropomorphized, hyperactive CGI animals interacting with live-action humans, and it’s truly a miracle that he didn’t blow every cast member, both of the rodent and homo sapien variety, to fur-spattered smithereens.
There was the pesky obstacle of the film’s PG rating, you see.
Now, let’s get to the wrecking ball penned by five screenwriters (Cormac and Marianne Wibberley, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio and Tim Firth) for G-Force. Essentially, a nefarious billionaire electronics mogul, Leonard Saber (Bill Nighy), has secretly embedded military microchips into all of his appliances, which are programmed to take over the entire world in “Project Clusterstorm.” With a mere two days to stop this imminent disaster of so-called biblical proportions, the FBI places a group of covert secret agents, all rodents trained by Ben (Zach Galifianakis), in Saber’s home. This group, G-Force, is made up of three genetically engineered guinea pigs with annoyingly one-dimensional personalities: the smart one, Darwin (Sam Rockwell); the sexy one, Juarez (Penélope Cruz, way to follow up that Oscar win!), and the black one, Blaster (Tracy Morgan, “Holla!”). Assistance is provided by a technophile mole named Speckles (a mercifully unrecognizable Nicholas Cage). Naturally, the rodents screw up their mission, so FBI bureau head Kip Killian (Will Arnett) puts the kibosh upon Ben’s program. These brilliant, prized guinea pigs then find themselves sequestered in a pet shop with the likes of an exceptionally gassy and token “fattie” guinea pig, Hurley (Jon Favreau, wtf?) and the slightly paranoid, hamster version of Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi). Naturally, the super rodents must then escape their confines and save the hapless humans from one of their very own. The wisdom imparted by this mess is that humanity will certainly destroy itself, technology is evil, and the FBI has a tendency to fuck shit up real good. All of this would have been endurable, but the five screenwriters of G-Force surrendered to their mistaken urge to add a backstory to the guinea pigs’ origins. This not only stretches the suspension of our disbelief but also weighs down the Bruckheimer momentum until it settles into inertia.
With all the big names (and generally average voicework) in the cast, you might wonder why Will Arnett bears the brunt of my frustration and, furthermore, why I still expect decent things from Arnett, particularly when it would be so damn easy to write him off. Oh, come on! Arnett can do a great smarmy villain, but he seldom (at least, in the live-action sense) makes use of this particular talent. Here, Arnett approaches a near-catatonic state with his lifeless portrayal of an FBI bureaucrat, whereas he could have given the character a bit of duplicity. Granted, Agent Trigstad (Gabriel Casseus) Agent Carter (Jack Conley) are equally impotent onscreen but arrive with lesser expectations. Oh hell. You know, I’m not sure why I’ve even worked up the venom for anyone here, for it’s just not worth it to tear down what is, fundamentally, a summer blockbuster for kids. If adults can have Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, then why can’t kids enjoy the same sort of idiocy without all of us rolling our eyes about how the future of Hollywood is doomed? Cinema is already screwed, folks, and you probably had at least a little something to do with it. After all, I saw you scoff at those G-Force posters as you stood in line to buy tickets for Slo-mo Boobs & Explosions: The Sequel.
For third-graders and under, this film is a veritable poop smear come true. As expected, there’s a massive dose of bodily function humor at work, particularly when a fly named Mooch (Dee Bradley Baker) makes quick work of Saber’s nasal cavity and takes the audience along for the rather disgusting ride. Sure, snot is funny, and I can sort of understand that, but I do have one legitimate concern about G-Force. The film’s two children characters, Connor (Tyler Patrick Jones) and Penny (Piper Mackenzie Harris), revel in some disturbingly lighthearted torture of guinea pigs, which means that not only are these two cretins likely future serial killers, but they’re also extremely poor role models for impressionable minds. In other words, if you let your kids watch this film, you’d better damn well keep an eye on their pets in the aftermath.
Agent Bedhead lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She and her little black heart can be found at agentbedhead.com.