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The Animal

Starring Rob Schneider, Colleen Haskell
Screenplay by Tom Brady and Rob Schneider
Directed by Luke Greenfield

IN SHORT: As dumb as, but funnier than, we expected. [Rated PG-13 for some crude and sexual humor. 83 minutes]

Someone on Late Night with David Letterman must've known that Rob Schneider feeding worms to a turkey vulture, mouth to mouth, in The Animal, 'cuz they booked some femme to feed cottage cheese to a duck in a Stupid Pet Tricks segment. It's a good thing the li'l kidlets who are the market for this thing don't stay up that late. Other than that, every other major joke in the movie has been blown in the teevee commercial or as part of any of star Rob Schneider's appearances on the various talk shows. If you've seen any of 'em, you've seen just about all. If not, there's a substantial amount of flat out dumb humor in The Animal, which is about everything you'd expect in a movie starring Adam Sandler's best pal. And Schneider tells you all about the making of his movie, in CrankyCritic® StarTalk. click here.

In a story that plays like something out of a Golden Age comic book, we meet asthmatic police property clerk Marvin Mange (Schneider). Four times he's tried to make it to full cop status. Four times he's failed the "obstacle course" part of the test he must pass to get the badge. His love life is not much better. When this eco-friendly guy meets famous tree-hugger Rianna (Colleen Haskell) in his favorite rest room -- don't ask -- he can't do much more than stutter. But Marvin's taken active steps to make a man out of himself. He's taken to drinking Badger Milk, as seen on a late night teevee infomercial promising strength and vitality!

Luckily. Fate has placed a major car crash and the mysterious mad scientist, Dr. Wilder (Michael Caton), in Marvin's future. He won't remember any of it all when he wakes up eight days later but, magically, he's become a surgically enhanced superman, filled with various animal parts. Sniffing out a drug smuggler at a local airport finally gets Marvin the badge, and the enmity of another cop (John C. McGinley). Enmity Schmenmit, it also gives Marvin the ability to swim like a dolphin, run like a horse and talk turkey vulture, which helps win him the heart of the lovely Rianna.

Of course there are side effects. Poor Marvin starts to ape his newly implanted organic enhancements -- puns that bad are why we don't write comedy -- and Dr. Wilder has a lovely cage ready, fit for the real life hamster Marvin is becoming. Oh, dear.

That's more than we should tell any grownup, unless you're expecting a treatise on Survivor participant Haskell's acting skills. She has a lovely smile, which is about all she's called upon to do here.

We've got an eight year old nephew who would go bananas for The Animal. As dumb as it sounds to us grown ups, and make no mistake about that, it's a family friendly flick. We laughed a lot more than we expected to. As for Ms. Haskell's acting debut, she has a lovely smile. She's not called upon to do anything more than that.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Nine Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to The Animal, he would have paid . . .


The Animal is aimed at kidlets and teens and those who like Adam Sandler comedies -- Schneider does bits in all of Sandler's films, and Adam repays the favor here -- but didn't push the fart jokes so much that we didn't consistently chuckle along with the rest of the flick.

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