In the new family comedy, Furry Vengeance, Brendan Fraser stars as a real estate developer trying to replace a forest with a new “green” community. The soon-to-be-displaced critters, though, aren’t planning to go down without a fight.
Dan and Tammy Sanders (Fraser and Brooke Shields) moved their family from Chicago to rural Rocky Springs, Oregon where Dan is developing a new eco-friendly subdivision for Lyman Industries. Other than the company's hardball-playing owner (Ken Jeong), for whom the only green that really matters is the cash he stands to make, no one is particularly excited about the project. Dan’s son doesn’t like his new school. He’ll adjust. His wife got roped into organizing the town’s festival. She’ll be fine, too. The forest faunae? Well, that’s another story. They have no intention of giving-up their homes so they take matters into their own paws.
Led by a raccoon with thought bubbles of Mel Gibson’s Braveheart, the animals battle the encroachers with a combination of booby-traps, sabotage and good old fashioned natural defenses (skunk squirt and bird droppings). When it’s all over, Dan learns a little about coexisting with nature and a lot about sham “green” initiatives.
Furry Vengeance is targeted to young audiences. Pratfalls, silly jokes and high-fiving raccoons get a lot of giggles from preschoolers in whose worldview human and marmot offspring are equals. The rest of us might enjoy seeing “eco-hypocrites” get their comeuppance. Lyman, for instance, travels in a private jet to lecture on environmentally responsible development and advocates solar panels only because “you can charge more for them;” while Fraser, whose physical resemblance to Al Gore cannot be overlooked, drives an oversized hybrid SUV (alone) and insists that he cares about the environment even as he is dynamiting a beaver dam.
Unfortunately, the jokes are all recycled (from compost, no doubt) and are so childish that the movie is, at times, painful to watch. The best gags -- the port-john called “The Throne Depot,” flashbacks to earlier failed development efforts by prehistoric cavemen, and cute but curious end-credit spoofs of films like The Blue Lagoon, and Grease – are too abbreviated and leave us concluding that Furry Vengeance could have been a much more clever and entertaining film.
Instead, we get Brendan Fraser, the once-admired star of The Mummy and Blast from the Past, fighting with a yard sprinkler and traipsing ridiculously through the neighborhood wearing pink ‘Yum Yum’ sweats.
It’s a waste of talent.
And it’s a waste of time.
MPAA Rating: PG for some rude humor, mild language and brief smoking.