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Film review: Fraser still a doofus in 'Vengeance'

Published: Thursday, April 29 2010 3:02 p.m. MDT

Brendan Fraser and Brooke Shields star in the unamusing family film "Furry Vengeance."

Alan Markfield, Summit Entertainment

FURRY VENGEANCE — ★1/2 — Brendan Fraser, Brooke Shields, Matt Prokop; rated PG (violence, vulgarity, drugs, slurs, profanity); in general release

At one point in his career — back in 1998, when he made "Gods and Monsters" — it appeared Brendan Fraser might be able to break out of his rut of nothing but comical doofus roles.

As "Furry Vengeance" proves, those days are most definitely long behind him.

Fraser has never been more "doofus-y" than in this moronic humiliation comedy, which actually gets dumber as it goes.

Yet he's still likable, and both he and the live-action cartoon would be tolerable if there weren't so much concentration on crude potty humor … and if weren't such a chintzy-looking, haphazard product.

Fraser stars as Dan Sanders, a project manager for a supposedly "green" land development company that's building homes in the Oregon wilderness.

Dan is so committed to his job that he's relocated from Chicago. He's even brought his wife, Tammy (Brooke Shields), and teenage son, Tyler (Matt Prokop), with him and is living in one of the company's model homes.

However, Dan's boss (Ken Jeong, from TV's "Community") isn't nearly as eco-friendly as he pretends. He's also making Dan and the crews do things that could upset the natural balance of things.

So naturally, the local wildlife has declared war on the development company. But no one will believe the increasingly paranoid Dan's claims that the raccoons, squirrels, crows and other creatures are out to get him.

Fraser's "opponents" are either animatronic puppets or real-life critters that have been digitally manipulated to have "facial expressions."

And director Roger Kumble ("College Road Trip") and a pair of credited screenwriters stick the now-paunchy Fraser in a variety of demeaning situations.

You'd say he's a trooper for enduring these shenanigans, but he should have known better than to take on this sort of movie project.

Meanwhile, Shields and Prokop ("High School Music 3: Senior Year") both look irritated to be sharing time with him and the animals.

Not that you can really blame them.

"Furry Vengeance" is rated PG and features (supposedly) comic violence and other violent imagery (slapstick pratfalls, animal attacks, use of dart guns, and vehicular mayhem), crude humor involving various animal bodily functions (references and sight gags), drug content and references (sleeping aids and tranquilizer darts), derogatory language and slurs, and scattered profanity, most of it fairly mild. Running time: 92 minutes.

e-mail: jeff@desnews.com

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