It has been a weird year for action star Brendan Fraser, star of The Mummy and its sequels. First, he and fellow action star Harrison Ford starred in Extraordinary Measures, a decidedly nonaction movie about a father who would do anything to save the lives of his children from a medical malady. Lousy reviews followed. Then he was the subject of an Internet viral video for his awkward clap at the Golden Globe Awards. If you haven't seen it, just Google "Brendan Fraser Awkward Clap" and you'll get it.
His weird clap is funnier than anything he does in Furry Vengeance, a sort of live-action version of the much funnier animated film Over the Hedge. Trust me, kids in the theater, including my own, were cracking up. For them, when a raccoon bites a guy in the crotch or skunks squirt people more times than can be counted, that's funny. But we adults know better. And Fraser should too.
Fraser plays Dan Sanders, a developer who has moved his teacher wife and teen son (wasted Brooke Shields and whiny Matt Prokop) from Chicago to Oregon for a year to oversee the first phase of a housing development in the Oregon forest. What he doesn't count on is that his boss (Ken Jeong, playing the same role he always plays from Community on TV to Knocked Up in the movies) wants Dan to oversee the next phase and stay in Oregon for four more years. That doesn't sit well with the Sanders family or the animals.
Led by a wily raccoon — just like the one voiced by Bruce Willis in Hedge — the live-action and computer-generated animals decide to strike back. You can imagine what happens next: Dan falls off the roof. Dan gets knocked over in a portable bathroom. Dan drives his car into the river. Hilarity should follow but doesn't. It's just a series of pratfalls and hits to the crotch that feels like an overlong sketch on a comedy show. They could have cut 80 minutes out of the 92-minute running time, animated it and made it an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants or the Fairly OddParents.
And do you think Dan will do the right thing before the forest gets paved over? Um, yeah.
Fraser isn't the only one whom you have to question about movie choices — although as executive producer of this mess, you know why he's in it. Shields has been missing from the big screen for much of the past 10 years. Maybe she should have held out for another year or so. Anyone could have done this. She's just a foil for Fraser's antics and an elderly teacher (Alice Drummond) at the school. Remember, old people with memory loss are funny, especially in a world where it's okay for an animal to nearly kill a man by getting his car to roll off a cliff.
The funniest part of the movie might actually be the music and short sketches that run over the credits. Or maybe I was just happy that it was over. Either way, if your kids beg to see it, take your iPod so that you can be otherwise occupied. Or better still, watch a clean version of Fraser's weird Globes clap. I guarantee you'll laugh more.
Sherry Robinson is editor of Go Momma online at moms.tampabay.com and writes for the Whoa, Momma! blog at blogs.tampabay.com/moms. She can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8305.