by Rick Grant
This film is wish fulfillment for all the forest creatures who have no voice when greedy developers start bulldozing the trees to build another suburban sprawl. Directed by Roger Kumble who valiantly coped with dozens of animals on the set and laughed his head off. Brendan Fraser and the supporting cast do the prat falls and get slimed by all sorts of nasty animal secretions with zealous respect for the comedy.
Happily for all concerned, the silliness came together into a very funny 92 minutes of the cute critters getting their revenge for the rape of their habitat. Fraser plays Dan Sanders, a real estate developer, who works for an Asian billionaire Neal Lyman (Ken Jeong) and has agreed to move to the area for one year to supervise the building of the project in the wilds of Oregon.
His company advertises itself green–a conservator of nature. But Dan finds out that they plan to bulldoze most of the trees and build more houses, displacing the forest creatures. Then there is more bad news. His boss, Lyman, has committed him for four years not just one, as originally agreed.
Dans family is furious. His wife Tammy (Brooke Shields) had uprooted her life and their son from his school in Chicago just for the one year, but now their situation is untenable. Worse yet, they find out the company plans to clear-cut the entire region of its natural beauty to sell more houses.
Ah yes, the forest creatures have organized into an army to scuttle the project by any means necessary. What follows is a series of Vaudevillian shtick that involves Dan getting beat up by the raccoons, scented by the skunks, and chased by a huge bear. Sure it’s cliche but Fraser does this physical humor skillfully. Consequently, the picture produces a steady high level of laughter from the audience.
Brooke Shields plays the straight person very well and her look of astonishment is genuinely funny. Hubby is always absent, a victim of the animal vengeance. The animals are mostly real with mouth morphing and the use of puppets. The raccoons steal their scenes with their chattering and morphed expressions of satisfaction when they pull off a prank on Dan.
Every scene is played broadly to milk it for every once of its comedic value. And it works, because the cast is willing to do humiliating things for the laughs. Fraser, who is no stranger to this broad comedy, goes the extra mile to sell the shtick to the audience.
Of course, the furry army steals the movie with their organized antics to stop the destruction of the forest. When the company organizes the movement of the animals to another area, they are stored under guard in cages. Dan has a epiphany and frees them to skunk the Forest Day celebration.
The evil but hilarious company owner, Lyman tries to get his contract signed by an Indian investor, but the animal army attacks and all hell breaks loose. When Dan is sprayed by the skunks, he takes a bath in tomato juice to kill the smell.
This cross-dressing scene carries on outside as the construction workers have a hardy laugh and take cell phone pictures of Dan wearing his wife’s clothes because all his wardrobe went to the cleaners to get the skunk smell off them.
This is a great family movie that never lets the laugh momentum fall off. The animals are adorable and the cast goes all out to get laughs. It’s a winner.
FURRY VENGEANCE movie review
by Rick Grant