The Animal (2001) / Comedy-Fantasy
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for crude humor, sexual humor, and language (I'd rate it R)
Running Time: 84 min.
Cast: Rob Schneider, Colleen Haskell, John C. McGinley, Edward Asner, Michael Caton, Louis Lombardi, Guy Torry, Bob Rubin, Norm McDonald, Adam Sandler (cameo)
Director: Luke Greenfield
Screenplay: Tom Brady, Rob Schneider
Review published December 25, 2005
This is the kind of film that happens when an idea that should have been no more than a 10-minute skit during Schneider's old SNL days gets made into a full-length movie. While playing for crude laughs may have worked on the late-night skit show, it just isn't enough to generate laughs without the spontaneity of a live performance, coming off as excessively vulgar, dim-witted, and desperate. Watching Schneider act like himself is difficult enough to endure; watching him also act live a horny, ravenous beast is downright excruciating. I can't imagine someone that isn't a self-avowed Schneider fanatic coming away from this half-baked crapola thinking it was a positive experience.
It's a high concept, one-joke premise: Marvin Mange (haha! get it??) is a clumsy oaf gets in an accident and has his internal organs replaced by a mad scientist (Caton, The Castle) with those of animals, later exhibiting animalistic behavior such as an insatiable hunger and unstoppable sexual impulses. Marvin utilizes his newfound abilities to help him become a hero and earn a spot on the police force that has rejected him for years, while he also finds that he may be responsible for the deaths of certain livestock in the area. All the while, he finds it difficult to keep his impulsive sexual desires at bay while courting the young, animal-loving environmentalist in the area, Rianna (Haskell).
The Animal is one of those projects that is so simplistically presented, I'd be surprised if it weren't conceived in matter of minutes. It's as if Schneider and company just wanted to cobble together a movie whereby he'd get to do a ton of physical gags and be able to wrap it all amid an endless array of sex, bathroom function, and gross-out jokes. For those viewers into that sort of thing, you won't find any shortage of distasteful humor, but at this point in the comedy world, shouldn't we expect a little more for our money than Schneider eating, licking, and humping everything in sight?
Although this review may sound like an insult to Schneider, I know he can be funny when he wants to be. I enjoyed him on SNL, and even gave his previous feature, Deuce Bigalow, a passing grade. However, The Animal is such a dumb concept to begin with, the fact that the gags in it aren't very inspired only makes this abysmal entertainment that only easily amused juveniles (and juvenile-minded adults) could bear to withstand. The Animal is a bird-brained dog of a movie that stinks like a skunk, and like a pig, enjoys wallowing in its own excrement. Not even a hyena could muster a laugh during this one.
©2005 Vince Leo