The Animal (12)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byMatthew Turner31/10/2001

Three out of five stars
Running time: 80 mins

Cheerfully dumb comedy from the production team behind "Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo" – it’s a one-joke movie, but Schneider makes it work and there are plenty of laughs to be had.

If you saw the under-rated (yes, UNDER-rated) comedy Deuce Bigalo: Male Gigolo last year, then you’ll know exactly what to expect from The Animal, the latest movie from Adam Sandler’s production company, which, like Bigalow, also stars Rob Schneider.

If you liked Deuce Bigalow, then it’s safe to say you’ll like this. If not, well, then you might as well move along, as there’s nothing for you to see here.

Rob Schneider plays small, wimpy Marvin Mange, a file clerk at the police department who doesn’t have what it takes to fulfil his dream of becoming a cop. Attacked by his neighbour’s dog, out-jogged by an old-age pensioner and bullied by children, he’s destined to go through life as a loser.

Until, that is, a mad scientist rescues him from a near-fatal car accident and rebuilds him using animal organs, turning him into a super-cop with incredible powers of hearing, smell, speed and strength. It isn’t long, however, before Marvin’s animal instincts and urges begin to take over…

Schneider, it has to be said, is perfectly cast. He has an endearing ‘underdog’ persona and he’s a gifted physical comedian – he makes every gag work, without over-playing any of it.

Indeed, it’s difficult to imagine any other contemporary comedian in the role. Part of the fun is that, just when you think you’ve seen all his animal ‘tricks’, another one comes along that’s even more ridiculous – the swimming scene, in particular, is hilarious.

The majority of the jokes are, predictably of the gross-out variety, particularly the turkey-vulture-feeding scene where the bird eats from Schneider’s mouth, and the inevitable (but still funny) ‘marking territory’ scenes.

The standout gag, though, involves Schneider and a goat in heat – the happy look on his face as he bounds over to ‘check her out’ is worth the price of admission alone.

There’s good support, particularly from Louis Lombardi (allowing for a swift round of Spot The Soprano) and Guy Torry, as Schneider’s best friends, as well as John C. McGinley (you’ll recognise the face) as the bullying police captain. Both Adam Sandler and fellow SNL comedian Norm McDonald also put in cameos.

The female lead, however, is Colleen Haskell, a piece of stunt casting, since she was a contestant on the US version of "Survivor" (the equivalent of casting Helen from Big Brother).

That said, she’s undeniably cute and isn’t really required to do that much. (And she’s STILL a better actress than that Shannyn Sossamon from A Knight’s Tale ).

Let’s face it, you don’t go into a film like The Animal and expect mental stimulation. The bottom line is, is it funny? And the answer is yes – there are several laugh-out-loud gags, more than enough to make it worth your while, and Schneider is excellent.

If you’re looking for 80-odd minutes of cheerfully dumb fun, then you could do a lot worse.

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The Animal (12)
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Content updated: 19/11/2017 01:27

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