A mischievous raccoon with digitally-enhanced facial features is the chief architect of the cartoonish chaos, calling to arms his woodland chums to teach the interlopers a painful lesson about protecting the flora and fauna. Screenwriters Michael Carnes and Josh Gilbert tip the balance of power firmly in favour of the critters for the first half of the film then allow the humans to gain the upper hand, albeit sneakily. However, you can’t keep an army of birds and rodents down, setting up a final showdown that hammers home eco-conscious messages about recycling and caring for the environment with all of the subtlety of a big whiff of a skunk’s bottom.
Brendan Fraser in trouble.. in more ways than one
Dan Sanders (Brendan Fraser) works for Lyman Enterprises, a real estate company which is developing a small community in the forests of Oregon. The family man has transplanted his teacher wife Tammy (Brooke Shields) and teenage son Tyler (Matt Prokop) to the back of beyond while he completes the year-long project for his demanding boss, Neal Lyman (Ken Jeong). Tammy and Tyler are both dismayed by Dan’s wilful disregard for the local wildlife. “We’re Lyman Enterprises, we’re a green company!” protests the father. “As in the colour of money,” retorts his son. When Neal orders Dan to destroy vast swathes of the forest to realise his vision, the workaholic father reluctantly agrees, marshaling a large workforce to clear the area. However, a tenacious raccoon and his forest friends, including a rowdy bear, fight back to protect their stomping ground, lighting the touch paper on a titanic battle between man and beast. Meanwhile, Tyler falls for local girl Amber (Skyler Samuels) and together they vociferously protest against Lyman Enterprises, hoping to stop the destruction.
Doin it for the kids
we presume that Furry Vengeance is pitched at very, very young audiences, who will delight at the suffering meted out to Fraser’s hapless fall guy. The strapping actor throws himself into each pratfall, wrestling with the raccoon or squeezing into a tight-fitting woman’s tracksuit when his clothes go missing. For older viewers – indeed anyone whose age has reached double digits – Roger Kumble’s caper induces sleep as quickly as the Herbal Sleepy-Bye Tea, which Dan glugs after a crow keeps him awake with its incessant pecking. Yawn. Shields’s face doesn’t actually appear capable of registering a single emotion so she is the only person who doesn’t seem mildly nauseated by the climactic scenes of family bonding, sticky sweet with mawkish sentiment. You come out wishing the creatures had torn them all apart.
The Pitfalls of Pratfalls featurette
Working with Animals featurette