The Animal
dir Luke Greenfield
scr Tom Brady, Rob Schneider
with Rob Schneider, Colleen Haskell, John C McGinley, Edward Asner, Michael Caton, Louis Lombardi, Guy Torry, Bob Rubin, Pilar Schneider, Scott Wilson, Norm MacDonald, Adam Sandler
release US 1.Jun.01; UK 2.Nov.01
Columbia 01/US 1h24
2 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
he wasn't much of a man It's obvious what to expect from a Rob Schneider comedy: charming stupidity and a less annoying central character than Adam Sandler (who produces here and makes a cameo appearance) would offer. And that's just what you get. Schneider is Marvin Mange, a small-town loser who wants to be a cop but can't make it through the qualifying obstacle course. When he's in a terrible car crash, a mad scientist (Caton) finds him and rebuilds him using animal parts. Soon he's feeling the call of nature, which of course turns him into a successful cop and helps him win the beast-loving, tree-hugging girl (Haskell) of his dreams. But can he control his animal instincts?

Knowing the premise, you'd expect quite a few jokes involving urine and humping. Yes, exactly. And while the premise couldn't be any more inane--or any more glaringly glossed over in the film--at least the characters remain likeable. Schneider gives a shaggy dog performance nicely balanced by his dopey pals (Lombardi and Torry) and McGinley's supercop jerk. Haskell is perfectly adequate in the sweet romance, which seems to be de rigueur for these films. And the humour veers wildly between sharp wit and Airplane wackiness. Yes, it could have been much more clever (even those '70s Disney comedies put in more of an effort!). This is a very, very stupid film ... but it's also sporadically sharp, funny and cute. And surprisingly watchable.
themes, vulgarity, innuendo cert 12 9.Oct.01

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2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall