I can’t speak for little kids, of course, but it’s hard to imagine their pet grownups sitting through “Furry Vengeance” without a mad gnashing of teeth and squirming dismay. The movie is both slack and dumb — a trying combo — and it’s heavily burdened with a big green message. (The production company, Participant Media, is also launching an earnest new eco-documentary called “Climate of Change” at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival.)
Brendan Fraser runs through an alarmingly extensive repertoire of low-comic muggery — face-scrunches, eye-rolls and general dingbat gibbering — as Dan Sanders, a real-estate exec who has relocated with his wife and son (Brooke Shields and Matt Prokop) to a sylvan outback in rural Massachusetts to oversee the construction of a large housing development. This will of course entail massive despoliation of the woodsy environment, and the local wildlife — who’ve battled similar human incursions dating back to the time of the Vikings, as we’re cornily shown — are ready to retaliate.
Despite their rampant cuddliness, they’re very good at this. The raccoons, foxes, skunks, otters and wild turkeys on hand (all expertly wrangled for their performances) are adept at plug-pulling, pee-spraying, boulder-rolling and, inevitably, crotch-biting. Dan is the target for most of this critter abuse, but no one else around him seems able to see it — even when a raccoon and a skunk drive off in his SUV. (In a fearful fit at one point, he howls out, “Miley Cyrus!”)
Lurking around the edges of the plot are Wallace Shawn, in the pointless role of a local shrink, and Ken Jeong as Dan’s hypocritical, faux-green employer, who bursts into frequent tirades in wild, squeaky Korean. (This will surely prove amusing to those viewers who don’t happen to be Korean.)
In the end, of course, Dan finally gets it — the righteousness of the animals’ cause and the error of his ways. We get it, too, naturally. In fact we already got it 10 minutes into the movie.
Again, a kid’s verdict on all of this may be different. (Or, depending on the precociousness of the kid, maybe not.) The picture has one virtue: The animals in it don’t talk. Which is appropriate. I was left speechless myself.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Furry Vengeance.”
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