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It's 'Furry' unfunny

Published May 06. 2010 05:00PM

"Furry Vengeance" has a funny enough premise: Forest creatures rise up to resist a developer who wants to build million-dollar mansions in their habitat.

The result is a comedy of impervious surfaces.

Call it "Habitat for Destruction."

"Furry Vengeance" is arguably the year's worst movie, albeit, the year is not quite halfway over.

The problem begins with screenwriters Michael Carnes and Josh Gilbert (blame them also for co-writing "Mr. Woodcock"), who haven't built on the concept much beyond an idea jotted down on the proverbial cocktail napkin.

The screenplay's attempts at comedy rely a lot on potty humor. One scene involves a Port-o-Potty, a black bear and Brendan Fraser. You don't know whether to feel sorry for the bear or Fraser.

The jokes are disgusting on a level of one to juvenile. How many spraying skunk gags can one movie have? Plenty, if it's "Furry Vengeance."

Director Roger Kumble ("College Road Trip," "Cruel Intentions") seems to not know what to do with the shallow material. Scenes are lackluster. The execution is worse. The dialogue is flat and absent of wit.

The most entertaining piece of business is a music video spoof during the end credits roll when the cast frolics to the song, "Insane in the Brain" (a 1993 hit for hip-hop group Cypress Hill), here called "Insane in the Membrane" (possibly as a nod to one of the lyrics and the song's use with that title in a television episode of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles").

And then there's the casting. Fraser in the title role of Dan, the husband overseeing the housing development, is not naturally funny, say, in the way Ben Stiller and Steve Carell can be.

Fraser has had his moments in "George of the Jungle" (1997) and "Encino Man" (1992). More recently, he's been better in serious roles in action movies, "The Mummy" and its sequels and "Journey to the Center of the Earth" (2008)." His antics in "Furry Vengeance" recall the pratfalls of Chevy Chase and the mugging of Rodney Dangerfield.

Brooke Shields doesn't embarrass herself as Dan's wife, Tammy. Ken Jeong (TV's "Community") as the developer doesn't connect with his character and provides few laughs. The supporting cast of humans is so unmemorable as to become a distraction.

The best part about "Furry Vengeance" is the critters, credited to a company, The Wild Bunch. The raccoon, skunk, squirrel and other denizens of the forest don't talk, but they are given lots of chatter, squeaks and squawks and comic-strip thought balloons (one of the movie's few genuinely funny devices).

Overall, the wild things appear to be more natural actors than the film's human counterparts.

We are assured that no animals were harmed in the making of "Furry Vengeance."

Comedy, however, was dealt a mortal blow. Laughs in "Furry Vengeance" are on the endangered species list.

"Furry Vengeance": MPAA Rated PG (Parental Guidance Suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children) for some rude humor, mild language and brief smoking; Genre: Comedy, Family; Run time: 1 hr., 32 min.; Distributed by Summit Entertainment.

Credit Readers Anonymous: At the very end of the "Furry Vengeance" concluding credits, the voice of Ken Jeong is heard. It's uncertain what he's saying. My guess is he's apologizing for doing the movie.

Box Office, April 30: "A Nightmare on Elm Street" scared up $32.2 million to open at No. 1, dropping "How to Train Your Dragon" to No. 2, $10.8 million, $192.3 million, six weeks.

3. "Date Night," $7.6 million, $73.6 million, four weeks; 4. "The Back-Up Plan," $7.2 million, $22.9 million, two weeks; 5. "Furry Vengeance," $6.5 million, opening; 6. "The Losers," $6 million, $18.1 million, two weeks; 7. "Clash of the Titans," $5.9 million, $154 million, five weeks; 8. "Kick-Ass," $4.4 million, $42.1 million, three weeks; 9. "Death at a Funeral," $4 million, $34.7 million, three weeks; 10. "Oceans," $2.6 million, $13.5 million, two weeks

Unreel, May 7:

"Iron Man 2," rated PG-13: The summer movie season gets kick-started earlier than ever with "Iron Man 2." Robert Downey Jr. is back in the Stan Lee Marvel Comics' title role as armored superhero-billionaire inventor Tony Stark. Also returning is Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). James "Rhodey" Rhodes (Don Cheadle) and Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) are new. Ivan Vanko-Whiplash (MIckey Rourke) and Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) come on strong as the antagonists.

"Babies," rated PG: The documentary looks at one year in the lives of four babies living on different continents: Ponijao, of Opuwo, Namibia; Bayar, Bayanchandmani, Mongolia; Mari, Tokyo, Japan; and Hattie, San Francisco, Calif.

One Popcorn Box out of Five Popcorn Boxes

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