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Mild-mannered evidence file clerk Marvin Mange (Rob Schneider) is frustrated. His life is going nowhere fast and his dream of becoming a "real" police officer is continually frustrated by his inability to complete the mandatory obstacle course. This earns him the contempt of the station tough guy, Sgt Sisk (John C McGinley). Marvin’s other preoccupation is a yearning for environmental activist Rianna (Colleen Haskell). Left to mind the office one day, Marvin finds himself called out on an emergency. But things go horribly wrong and Marvin is involved in a car smash. He comes around to find he’s been put back together by the manic Dr Wilder (Michael Caton), using animal parts. Soon, he’s having increasing difficulty controlling his animal instincts.

Review by David Edwards:
The steady flow of mostly gross movies from ex-Saturday Night Live comedians shows no sign of abating; but this effort starring Rob Schneider (who brought us Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo) is at least a mildly amusing diversion. The difference between Schneider and other SNL’ers (like Adam Sandler) is that Schneider has a kind of goofy, almost innocent, charm that takes the crass edge off many of his jokes.

In The Animal, he plays a guy who’s stitched back together by a mad scientist using animal parts. Sounds gross; but judging by recent headlines, the day of animal-human transplant surgery isn’t too far off. This however is no sci fi horror flick, it’s really an offbeat boy-meets-girl story. Schneider of course is the boy, and the girl is Colleen Haskell, who shot to fame for being voted off the island in the first series of Survivor. She doesn’t have to do much – mostly just look good – as Schneider and his cohorts frolic through the paper-thin plot. The jokes are mostly what you’d expect from this, Schneider hamming it up as he behaves like a series of animals. Some of these, such as his takes on cats and dolphins, are funny; but the inevitable series of mostly crude dog jokes wear thin. There’s also a very curious and rather tasteless riff on racism that runs through the movie which just isn’t funny at all. Schneider gives Marvin his trademark sweet-hearted loser appeal; but the movie is very nearly stolen by John C McGinley as the gung-ho sergeant who’s determined to take him down, and by Australia’s own Michael Caton as the oddball Dr Wilder.

For an average movie though, the DVD package is impressive. The feature has been crisply transferred to DVD and is presented in the original 16:9 widescreen ratio, enhanced with Dolby 5.1 sound. So the whole thing looks and sounds great. There are plenty of add-ons included on the disc, including an interview with Schneider that’s funnier than much of the movie. Many of the deleted scenes are amusing too, although some commentary from the director on why they were cut would have been useful.

As a DVD package, The Animal is (if you’ll pardon the pun) almost a silk purse fashioned from a sow’s ear. Despite the fact the film itself is pretty ordinary, the superior extras on the disc come close to making this one worthwhile.

Published January 31, 2002

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You can buy it HERE - next day delivery within Australia


CAST: Rob Schneider, Michael Caton, Colleen Haskell, John C McGinley

DIRECTOR: Luke Greenfield

RUNNING TIME: 84 minutes (feature)

SPECIAL FEATURES: Original widescreen presentation, deleted scenes, theatrical trailer, two "making of" featurettes, director’s audio commentary, audio commentary by Schneider and producers commentary, language choice (English/Spanish), interactive game, talent profiles.

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: 2 January 2002

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