Furry Vengeance

Movie Information

The Story: Forest critters take their revenge on land developers. The Lowdown: Incredibly, impossibly, irredeemably, inescapably, indescribably terrible.
Genre: Anthropomorphic Animal Comedy With Bodily Functions
Director: Roger Kumble (College Road Trip)
Starring: Brendan Fraser, Brooke Shields, Ken Jeong, Matt Prokop, Ricky Garcia, Wallace Shawn
Rated: PG

Had audiences in 1895 any notion that the flickering images presented by the Lumière brothers would one day evolve into the medium that would bring the world Furry Vengeance, they’d have dragged the brothers into the street and hanged them. (Well, being in France, I guess they’d have guillotined them.) If the Spanish Inquisition were still in business, they’d probably dig the Lumières up and subject what’s left of them to some retroactive atrocities. This is the kind of movie that makes you ashamed to like movies at all. We’re not even halfway through the year yet, but it’s going to be a struggle to beat this one for Worst Picture of the Year. This isn’t just bad. This is mind-rottingly reprehensible and vile—not to mention stupefyingly unfunny and embarrassing.

If you’ve been lucky enough to miss the trailers (in which case, you might think the movie is about some esoteric dress-up games—it’s not), Furry Vengeance presents us with the story of Dan Sanders (Brendan Fraser). Dan has uprooted his wife Tammy (Brooke Shields) and son Tyler (Matt Prokop, High School Musical 3) from their Chicago home to rusticate in the wilds of Oregon, where he’s overseeing the construction of an “ecologically friendly” housing development. The family objects to being there. The woodland creatures object to them being there—especially after learning that Dan’s boss, Neal Lyman (Ken Jeong, All About Steve), plans to develop the entire forest out of existence.

The upshot of all this? The animals—with the aid of truly awful animatronics and the worst CGI I have ever seen—are going to revenge themselves on Dan. By my reckoning, this consists of Dan suffering three shots to the crotch, two dousings of skunk spray in the face, innumerable attacks of bird droppings, a bout of poison ivy, a bath in Porta-John effluvia and a golden shower in the mouth from a raccoon. This is the state of “family entertainment” in 2010. There is also a battle of wits between Dan and a crow. (Since Fraser agreed to appear in this film, it’s no contest.) To add to the alleged hilarity, no one but Dan and the audience sees what’s going on, so it’s assumed by everyone else in the movie that he’s losing his mind. (Insert unfunny, pointless cameo by Wallace Shawn as a shrink here.)

Of course, before it’s all over, Dan will learn that his boss is a lying scumbag, Dan will team-up with the animals, his family will learn he’s not crazy—and everyone will perform “Insane in the Brain” in parodies of music videos to accompany the ending credits. This last presupposes anyone is still in the theater, which strikes me as extremely wishful thinking.

It’s impossible to convey just how bad the screenplay by Michael Carnes and Josh Gilbert is. Even realizing that these are the boys who wrote Mr. Woodcock (2007) cannot prepare you for the wretchedness of this thing. On top of everything else, they penned a scene where Matt Prokop manages to say “What up, brother,” “dude” and “bro” in two lines of dialogue. The Geneva Convention people should be made aware of this.

Roger Kumble’s direction is no better. It apparently consisted of arriving on the set thinking, “How can we humiliate Brendan Fraser today?” and “Is there a bodily fluid we haven’t used yet?” His creative inspiration otherwise seems to consist of sticking the Electric Light Orchestra’s “Don’t Bring Me Down” on the sound track for no very good reason—except to possibly counteract the aggressive use of blandly generic alt-rock songs and the horribly “cute” score by Edward Shearmur. (Then again, I understand Kumble used the same song on his last movie, so maybe he just likes it a lot.) Beyond that, the film feels excessively cheap. It even manages to recycle the same footage of the animals’ Rube Goldberg device later on in the movie for rolling a boulder onto oncoming cars.

And then there is the cast. I understand why Brooke Shields looks annoyed: She had to make the movie. I only watched it and I’m annoyed. Fraser, however, is just appalling in his nonstop mugging, and it’s very hard to understand why he insists on showing off how out of shape he is whenever possible. The days when he sometimes made films like Gods and Monsters (1998) and The Quiet American (2002) are but a rapidly dimming memory. I wish I could say the same for this movie. Rated PG for some rude humor, mild language and brief smoking.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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16 thoughts on “Furry Vengeance

  1. Ken Hanke

    Sooo…should I go see this movie, or not?

    That’s a hard call.

  2. Somebody

    One can only hope that this movie is some sort of discovery device to identify a list of people genetically incapable of discerning good from bad.

  3. Ken Hanke

    One can only hope that this movie is some sort of discovery device to identify a list of people genetically incapable of discerning good from bad.

    Well, at least then it would serve some useful purpose.

  4. Ken Hanke

    Thank god my 10 year old is now watching R rated films

    Hey, I had a four-year-old who could sing “Sweet Transvestite.”

  5. Margaret E

    After much pleading on her part, I took my eight-year-old to see this movie yesterday. This critic is not exaggerating. It really is THAT bad. I did find myself laughing from time to time, but only because I couldn’t BELIEVE what I was seeing. Brendon Fraser has clearly lost any shred of self-respect he had left.

  6. Ken Hanke

    I’m certainly not going to argue with any of that, though I don’t think I ever laughed.

  7. I’m certainly not going to argue with any of that, though I don’t think I ever laughed.

    Maybe is was the fact that she paid, and you did not.

  8. DrSerizawa

    A town on a mountaintop in Oregon, from the trailer I saw, right? No need for the animals to do anything except wait for the first winter. 30 feet of snow will ruin any chance of getting home after work.

    I normally hate the long trailers that reveal the entire movie. But this is one of those cases where I was glad that the trailer fully revealed not only the entire “plot” but also just how obviously hideous this schlock is.

  9. Ken Hanke

    I must say, I’m ALMOST happy this movie exits, because it means this review exists, too.

    (My most sincere condolences on your loss of brain cells.)

    Oh, that’s okay. Some suffer for their art, I guess it’s on only a slightly lower level to suffer for others’ entertainment.

  10. Steve

    I agree with Stephanie. I hate that this movie was made, but I love that you reviewed it. I guess I’m just a teeny bit of a sadist.

    That said, though, I saw the trailer for this movie, and anyone who did that actually followed through by buying a ticket deserved what they got. The promos were completely honest in showing that this would be a crap-fest.

  11. Ken Hanke

    I agree with Stephanie. I hate that this movie was made, but I love that you reviewed it. I guess I’m just a teeny bit of a sadist

    I don’t really mind since it provided some entertainment, which is more than I can say for the movie itself. Then again, as I’ve said in the past, I think it’s necessary for anyone writing criticism of current film to see a fairly large cross-section of what’s out there.

  12. tantya

    what’s the name of the band and the song of the intro part in the movie?

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