Bruce Bennett Short Bio

Bruce Bennett

Bruce Bennett has been the primary contributor to Mad About Movies since it began in 2003. He is an award winning film and theater critic who, since 2000, has been writing a weekly column in The Spectrum daily newspaper in southern Utah as well as serving as a contributing editor of “The Independent,” a monthly entertainment magazine. He is also the co-host of “Film Fanatics” a movie review show which earned a Telly in 2009. Bruce is also a featured contributor at:

His motto: "I see bad movies so you don't have to."

Furry Vengeance

Fraser’s career may be dying hard with this

The only real vengeance in Brendan Fraser’s latest effort seems to be foisted on the audience in this “woodland creatures go ballistic” family film that won’t likely amuse children, let alone the poor parents who unsuspectingly tag along.

The only purpose here is to provoke laughs through the humiliation of Fraser’s character by having CGI-assisted animals-led by a ringleader raccoon-to get revenge when their forest is threatened by a money-grubbing, reckless land development company. (Is there ever any other kind in the movies?)

A few gags and pratfalls aside, the film has virtually nothing to recommend. There are long stretches where not even the chuckle of a small child breaks the silence.

Dan Sanders (Fraser) is a good guy, but as project manager for a company determined to cut down the forest for commercial reasons he can’t please anyone. Not his wife (Brooke Shields, still attractive but forced to mug throughout the whole film), who only signed up for a year and doesn’t want to stay for four more even with a huge raise. Not his whiny, “I miss the city” teenage son (Matt Prokop), and not upper management (Korean doctor-turned-comic actor Ken Jeong) who irritates as a shrill “my-way-or-the-highway” kind of boss.

But the real stars, if you can call anything in this bottom-feeding film a star, are the various chipmunks, skunks, vultures, ferrets and other creatures that use the most simple of tricks (skunks hiding in the SUV, waiting for the right moment to unleash, well, you know) to elaborate stunts (carefully constructed catapults) to try to shoo Dan away from his forest-destroying mission.

In the end, green wins over greed, naturally, but not before the audience must sit through a lot of repetitive gags and hashed-over ideas that even Eddie Murphy might not have lowered himself to do.

If Fraser has any fans left, they can’t be encouraged by the sight of his pudgy, bulging-eyed character being reduced to this sort of nonsense. With a good script (“Blast From The Past,” “Bedazzled”) Fraser can be occasionally entertaining but “Furry Vengeance” is another signpost in a declining career that has recently offered “Extraordinary Measures,” “Inkheart,” “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” and the last “Mummy”-all of which cast serious doubt on Fraser’s ability to lift a mediocre film.

Grade: C-
Rated PG for some rude humor, mild language and brief smoking.

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