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the animal (film)

first published on oilzine.com

What can I say about "The Animal"? Well, itís a funny film, by no means a classic, but it is very funny in places. Sure itís childish humour, but I like that kind of thing as long as itís done well. Toilet humour, lewd humour, slapstick: all quality stuff.

I went to the cinema expecting to witness some God-awful film, especially so when I discovered that the star had found fame in the appalling American version of "Men Behaving Badly". Youíd have thought that might have ended Rob Schneider's career, but Iím glad now that it hasnít. "The Animal" is surprisingly funny.

There is also enough to keep the adults entertained as well, with comic references for more mature minds.

The story revolves around wimpy police evidence clerk Marvin Mange (Schneider), who dreams of becoming a real cop, like his dead dad, if only he could pass the obstacle course. As luck would have it he is involved in a car crash and is rebuilt by a deranged scientist using animal parts. The consequence of this is that he now has enhanced senses. The downside, which quickly becomes evident, is that he also displays the same instincts as the animal donors, and struggles to keep them in check. We never actually find out which animals have donated which parts, which gives the film some welcome comic flexibility.

To add to his problems heís recently met a nice young woman (Colleen Haskell), and of course, the unnatural instincts appear at the most embarrassing moments. There are moments when the strange behaviour is useful, though. He establishes his reputation as a Ďsuper-copí with some handy sniffer-dog antics (the drugs are up a guyís arse), and builds on his repute with the performing-seal-like saving of a young child. Moments of true amusement.

The acting throughout "The Animal" is good, nobody throws in a terrible display, and Schneiderís physical abilities and looks manage to enhance his performance. His hair is a comic actorís dream. Itís also nice that, although Adam Sandler was involved in the film, Schneider avoided using Sandlerís comedic acting style, which appears to be "put on a Ďstoopidí voice equals laughs". Schneider decides just to act, well.

The only real problem I had was the performance from Colleen Haskell (Rianna), who was in her first film since coming to fame in the USA version of the TV show "Survivor". For want of a better description, she sounded like she was permanently drunk: slurring her way through lines. However, her scenes with Schneider did exhibit a keen chemistry, and she is undoubtedly cute enough to make it as an actor.

You will probably get what you expect from this film, but better. Itís always amusing and very funny in places. One such scene involves Schneider seducing a fertile goat to strains of "Letís Get It On" by Marvin Gaye. While on routine police duty he smells that said goat is in heat and, despite efforts to the contrary, he just canít keep away from poor ovine. He proceeds to approach and flirt, and goes through a bizarre mating dance, before getting a painful hint from the goat that itís not interested.

There was one joke that seemed to be a bit flat and annoyed me most of the way through the film, "People treat me nicely because Iím black Ė itís reverse racism", but it actually pays off in the end (Iím not going to spoil it). And itís probably worth the embarrassment for the actor of having only one line all the way through the film (which he repeats ad infinitum).

"The Animal" is basically your typical American cornball comedy, throwaway sure (and it will be slagged off for being childish), but it does entertain and offers an interesting twist to the usual style, which involves a whodunit at the end. Should keep kids of all ages amused for a while. I really liked it.

Directed by Luke Greenfield, and executive produced by Adam Sandler, "The Animal" is released on 2nd November 2001

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