The Friday Movie Blog

This Week's Rants/Raves

Furry Vengeance (PG, 91 minutes)
Last Friday afternoon I received an email; it consisted of an attachment and a single—and slightly foreboding—sentence: “Here is my review of your movie blog.” When I opened the attachment, I found a screenshot of that day’s posting (my April 23rd review of The Back-Up Plan and The Losers) with the addition of two strategically placed pieces of clip art: cursors clicking on fireballs, covering my (two) uses of the word ass. Yup…I had been censored by my mom.

Since Mother’s Day is right around the corner, I decided to honor my mother this week. I disregarded my natural urge to see the new A Nightmare on Elm Street, and saw its antithesis, the you-know-it’s-family-friendly-because-it’s-starring-Brendan-Fraser movie, Furry Vengeance—a movie that received the Film Advisory Board’s “Award of Excellence” for its family-oriented entertainment.[SIGNUP]

Brendan Fraser plays Dan Sanders, a real estate developer who becomes the center of some forest animal aggression. After accepting a temporary transfer, he uproots his family to live in Oregon. His development becomes so successful that his “green” company tasks him to build a larger community—even if it means destroying the entire forest. As you have probably deciphered from its title, Furry Vengeance also includes many, many maniacal forest animals (all live action, but with some creepy animation to allow the animals to laugh, whistle and snicker). They’re tired of being pushed around and declare war on Fraser.

The movie is like an America’s Funniest Video that doesn’t end. Each scene is exactly the same: build up, animal does something, Fraser gets hurt (usually involving his crotch area), animal chortles, Fraser gets angry, Fraser wants revenge, his family thinks he’s going crazy, and repeat. The animals rig boulders to roll down hillsides, unplug treadmills, drive vehicles, and peck on windows. This definitely seems like a winning formula for kids, yet rarely does it connect or feel new. Fraser and costar Brooke Shields do their best with the constant pratfalls and reaction shots, but alas, Fraser’s gotten a bit older and no longer possesses his George of the Jungle physique. Unlike Journey to the Center of the Earth and the Mummy movies, he’s not quite able to rise above this below-average film. Instead, it just starts to feel a little sad.

In a follow-up email, my mom wrote that she was going to suggest that each post should always be MA (Mom Approved). However, she “looked up MA and found that it means for mature audiences.” (How funny is that?) So, yes, this movie is definitely rated Mom Approved for the inoffensive subject matter, adorable (yet creepily animated) animals, and kid jokes. But it is definitely not rated “Adults Should See It Even Without Kids Approved” or ASSEWKA. Shoot, that has ass in it. Sorry mom. (In theaters; click here to see where it’s playing near you.) My Grade: C-

The 5-Word Reviews of 5 Mediocre Movies
Over the past few weeks, I have not been on the best DVD streak from Netflix. It seems every movie I watch… well, any movie I have chosen to watch has been pretty average. This is only my fault—I read the critics’ reviews on the movie’s page. Nevertheless, I went ahead and got them. I’m hoping my short-and-sweet critiques will prevent you from making the same mistakes.

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant (2009)–Grotesque. Too many characters. Unfocused. My Grade: C+

Astro Boy (2009)–Beautifully animated. Oddly cold. Forgettable. My Grade: B-

Over Her Dead Body (2008)–Been. There. Done. That. PaulRudd. My Grade: C

The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)–Incomparable cast. Quirky potential. Disappointing. My Grade: C-

Did You Hear About the Morgans? (2009)–Lackluster. Formulaic. Wasted talent. Dull. My Grade: C-