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Check your brain at the door!
Aug 21, 2001 10:57 AM 3702 Views





''The Animal'' is actually very funny. It has a smart script with a simple but crazy premise, and Rob Schnieder's comic acting abilities allow him to take this concept and fly with it. Altogether, the film weaves in enough hilarious slap stick, sight gags, and one liners to keep you laughing for a long time after the movie is over.

The movie starts out and immediately lays out the ground work concerning Rob Schnieder's character, Marvin, basically the biggest loser on Earth, who lives in a garage and just wants to be a cop. This setup is similar to Rob's other movies, and is perhaps even a strange twist on the Hitchcock theme of the wrong man at the wrong place at the wrong time. Only here he's a loser at the wrong place at maybe the right time.

Here, he's such a loser that he has no hope of ever becoming a cop until one night he gets into a horrible car accident that is like something out of ''Monty Python,'' and is rescued by a mad scientist who cures him and sets him back into society (in some respects, similar to the humour of Steve Martin's ''The Man With Two Brains'').

Once loose in society, he starts acting strangely, like an animal to be precise (well various animals to be even more percise - from acting like cats and dogs to horses and goats, vultures and many more - Schnieder is quiet effective - in a way it's like ''Dr. Doolittle'' except here Schnieder plays all the animals), and the whole movie follows this arch of Marvin going from one situation to the next, doing nuttier and nuttier things, but at the same time etching out strong friendships around him with the people he never had a hope with before.

In many ways, this role is not much different from that of Rob Schnieder's last movie, ''Duece Bigalow: Male Gigolo.'' In that movie you also had a loser who discovers something new about himself that brings him back into the real world. Only in ''The Animal,'' the whole script just seems smarter and more accessible, and the direction by first time director Luke Greenfield, is a lot more taught and fast paced than ''Duece.'' Overall, he creates a tone and feel that really suits the script. The direction is effective and well done.

Of course, like any good movie, the film pokes fun at police officers, black people and the actions of animals and how we treat them as a society. But even though some scenes are suggestive in a childish and immature way, none of the humour is rude. It's actually enjoyable and fun to watch.

Marvin even finds a love interest in a character played by ''Survivor'' Colleen Haskell. Haskell is really cute in the film, and she holds her own next to Schnieder, playing her part just the way it needs to be played, not missing a beat and wisely letting Schnieder shine. I don't know if Colleen will be a good actress or not, I'd have to see her in some other movies first, but hey if acting is what she wants to do, then all the more power to her! Also watch for cameos by Norm MacDonald and Adam Sandler.

So if you want a break from the everyday, from all the serious movies out there right now, from all the silly 'we who made this think it's so great' war movies, and from all the bad romantic comedies, then go see ''The Animal.'' I enjoyed it, my girlfriend enjoyed it and the entire theatre enjoyed it. At an hour and a half, it's not a long movie, and in fact, it's just the right amount of time you'd want to spend with this kind of film. It's nicely paced and very funny, so check your brain at the door and have a good time at ''The Animal'' today!

Grade: B+

(Originally reviewed on May 31, 2001)

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The Animal Movie