Retro Review: The Animal

Belly laughs, squeals, cackles and hooting are just some of the sound that erupted from the audience when “The Animal”, Rob Schneider’s latest goofy comedy flashed across movie screens. With that in mind, I did have to wonder who were the actual animals.

Rob Schneider plays police officer Marvin Mange who miraculously walks away after his car flies off a cliff during a bone-crunching wreck.

The days that follow the wreck Marvin starts to have strange feelings as he seems to react in animal ways to certain events.

A couple days after the wreck, Marvin runs into an eccentric scientist named Dr. Wilder (Michael Caton). Wilder explains that Marvin survived the wreck because he transplanted animal organs into Marvin’s body.

He does warn Marvin that his human side may not be able to control the “call of the wild” and it would be best that he came to live with him in the woods.

What will Marvin decide? What about the love he has for Rianna (Colleen Haskell) and how does his new “super-cop” status help with that relationship?

“The Animal” is a very quirky and silly comedy that might just sneak up on you. It’s jokes and situations will make a lot of us scream with laughter even if we know it’s so stupid. This must be Rob Schneider’s plan in his second extremely dumb comedy.

Schneider is hilarious as the man changing into an animal. With the help of a lot of silly sound effects, Schneider definitely shows off his comedic range. He hasn’t been this at home since he was the wise-cracking announcer in “Necessary Roughness”. I absolutely loved him in that film.

John C McGinley plays Schneider’s egotistical and aggressive boss to perfection as he does a great job of tormenting the poor star.

We have seen McGinley do this throughout his career but it was nice to see him make fun of himself. I also liked Ed Asner as the dim-witted chief who doesn’t seem to be in touch with reality in some scenes. A couple of Asner’s scenes almost reminded me of Lloyd Bridges in “Hot Shots”.

Survivor (Season One) contestant Colleen Haskell makes a delightful silver-screen debut as Schneider’s love interest. This film doesn’t really show off her acting skills but does allow her to show off her charisma and screen presence. With more training and experience, little miss Haskell will definitely have a future in Hollywood.

With all these great performances, it is such a shame that the plot and laughs quit half way through. With a running time of just 90 minutes, “The Animal” runs out of steam in its third act.

The film shifts direction and adds a new plot twist that seems to come out of left field. This overly bold move to give some more added humor to the film fails miserably and leaves the filmmakers to rely on cameos from Norm MacDonald and Adam Sandler to drum up laughs. It’s a shame.

The film really needed more juicier laughs and a thicker script. If the Farrelly Brothers had directed this film, we would have had a very cool comedy since this kind of material would have been perfect for their comedic touch.

This film could have used some interesting turns in direction to keep the comedy fresh.

(2.5 of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

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