2 Stars
Year Released: 2001
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 90 minutes
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Animal lovers will not enjoy “The Animal”, let alone anyone older than the teenage market the Happy Madison production studio’s low-brow humor aims for. While the film may be head and shoulders above previous efforts such as Joe Dirt, or Rob Schneider’s own Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, that is far from a recommendation.
“The Animal”, starring the beforementioned ex-SNL star Rob Schneider, uses Happy Madison’s “timeless” tried-and-true loser-turned-hero plotline. His character, Marvin Mage, is a Police station clerk aiming for the top; to be a cop, just like his decorated father, deceased. Unfortunately, Marvin just can’t seem to get past the entrance exam – not only is he physically weak, but an embarassment to the force and the community. As the TV previews (and title) have revealed beforehand, Marvin winds up in an accident and is miraculously saved by some recluse scientist using animal parts. These parts heighten his senses, reflexes, strength, etc. Using his newfound “powers”, Marvin performs bizarre yet heroic deeds, landing him at the top of the force, as well as in the hands of the beautiful animal shelter worker, Rianna (Colleen Haskell). Unfortunately, Marvin can’t keep his animal side under control, from which hilarity ensues, or is supposed to.
This is a Happy Madison flick. What does this mean? Obesity is funny. Masturbation and urine are funny. Sex with barnyard animals is funny. If you agree with the above statements, then by all means hasten your departure to the theater. The only intelligent (and appreciated) humor comes from Marvin’s black friend who is angry at the world for treating him with “reverse-racism”, a recurring gag that ties in excellently with the climax – the best part of the film. Another excellent character is Marvin’s foil, a hotshot cop determined to see him fail. Norm MacDonald’s cameo appearance was also a wonderful treat.
If only the same compliments could be said of Colleen Haskell, who’s celebrity status from Survivor 1 was all that was needed to secure her role in the film, and it shows. From a technical point of view, “The Animal” is fairly visually impressive. Whether Schneider is climbing a tree at outrageous speeds, swimming upright like a seal, or outracing a Jeep at 60 mph – it all looks good, and half-believable at that. Two hours later, I’m still trying to figure out how they pulled some of it off.
In conclusion, while there’s no doubt that “The Animal” will make you laugh, it’s not the kind of laughter that outweighs the missing $10 in your pocket. Just to be safe, I’d advise going on cheap night, or waiting for the rental — it won’t take long.

Posted on June 4, 2001 in Reviews by

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