|Certain assumptions must be made when considering the merits of Rob Schneider's latest film, The Animal. The demographics for this film invariably skew young and male. Very young and male. The Animal's most prolific jokes deal with sex, farts, and more sex and farts. This film is a low-budget escapade into what types of inane comedy will entertain nine year old boys, a type of film, which has become increasingly common in the past decade. The antics of films like Animal House are even a few steps too high on the ladder for this group.|
But even on that primitive level (no pun intended), it usually misses the mark. The jokes are more obvious and over-used than should even be required to attract the requisite audience for this film. Now, there's no denying that Schneider has comedic talent; his performance in Down Periscope was more than suitable. But The Animal seems to have been put together without a lot of thought. Even films whose mission on celluloid is to put forth fart jokes need a bit of planning.
The Animal is most like another recent film put out by a group of saturday night live alums: Joe Dirt. Both of these films are quite short in length (but that's not a burden, by any means). And their production values are quite low. though low budget films can sometimes trump big budget bonanzas with superior acting or story, the animal succeeds only in making sure the audience knows the film had a miniscule budget and a small amount of creativity thrown into it. What's disappointing about this film is that an actor who has a decent amount of talent wastes it on a movie with so little creativity attached to it.
Rob Schneider has not displayed any acting charms worthy of an Oscar in the past decade, but every once in a while, he stumbles into a decent film. This has no claim on decency, talent, or ingenuity. Schneider and his cohorts present a fairly simple plot: an underdog police clerk eventually triumphs over his enemies with the help of implanted animal parts. The story just lends itself to obvious humor; just guess how the filmmakers decided to increase Schneider's sex drive. The self-deprecating (no, not self-defecating...) nature of The Animal can only take the story so far.
Schneider's character is depressed about his lack of male-ness and when the animal parts are implanted inside him, he doesn't change that much. He's still just as unintelligent as a second grader and brainless as the screenwriters for this film. Like the saying on the poster says: "he wasn't much of a man...now he's not much of an animal." And The Animal isn't much of a film. The jokes are weak and their execution is uninspiring. Even if one were to look at the intended audience for these comic gems, it's hard to believe that even nine year olds would find the humor funny.
Low-brow humor may not have the cashe of so-called "smart" comedies, but with some originality, even crude humor can be entertaining. One need only look at the successful American Pie series to see that barnyard humor can delight an audience. In point of fact, it would probably be too taxing on the brains of the majority of Americans, if all films resembled shakespeare. There's nothing wrong with vulgar entertainment. As long as it's entertaining.
But The Animal isn't entertaining. It is a film that has been put together without a lot of thought and a serious lack of creativity. The jokes don't pack a humorous punch and the depravity of its gross-out humor can only add to what some unintelligent individual in hollywood thought would play well on the screen. Of course, it was actually a group of people who decided to put this film together. This is not one of the more successful efforts by the people at Adam Sandler's production company.
Review by Kelsey Wyatt.