We are gathered here today to mourn the death of the career of Brendan Fraser. In the early 1990s Mr. Fraser’s career appeared vibrant and healthy in films like “Gods and Monsters” and “Mrs. Winterbourne,” but following a career high with box office champs like “The Mummy” his career began a long, painful battle with bad material and began to look as green as the green screens it often performed in front of. With the release of “Furry Vengeance,” the battle is lost. A career, who once shared the screen with Oscar winners like Shirley MacLaine and legends like Ian McKellan, is now content work opposite angry raccoons. R.I.P. the career of Brendan Fraser.
In “Furry Vengeance” Fraser plays Dan Saunders a well meaning real estate developer who has moved his family from Chicago to the middle of nowhere to oversee the building of a subdivision. His contract is for one year, but his supposedly eco friendly, “green” boss has a different idea. He wants to clear cut the surrounding forest and build a new suburb. To prevent the destruction of their homeland the forest’s animals, led by a raccoon who fancies himself a fuzzy William Wallace, leads a campaign of psychological warfare on Saunders.
“Furry Vengeance” is as direct-to-DVD worthy a movie as will be released theatrically this year. Ten minutes in I was wishing the movie would take a sudden turn from flaccid family friendly fare into more “When Animals Attack” mode. Nothing would have pleased me more than to see the animals rise up against the filmmakers, hijack this movie and make it a true revenge film. Twenty minutes in I was wishing I had claws, like the little furry creatures in the film, so I could claw my own eyes out.
I know “Furry Vengeance” is meant for little kids, but kids deserve better than this. In a twelve month period that has given us “Fantastic Mr. Fox” and “Where the Wild Things Are,” movies that raised the bar for children’s entertainment, a return to this mush-headed-slapstick is taking a giant step backward. With the Laugh-O-Meter™ set somewhere between the hit-in-the-crotch gags of “America’s Funniest Home Videos” and a “Knock Knock” joke, it aims to amuse developing brains but it telegraphs every joke and by the time Fraser shows up in a pink track suit with the words Yum Yum on the bum, all hope is lost.
The cast is uniformly bad, but it is Fraser who makes the biggest impression. He’s acting at a level that, I’m sure, The Three Stooges would consider over-the-top. Watching this it’s hard to imagine that this is the same actor who once dazzled in “Gods and Monsters.” Perhaps my reports of his career death are, as Mark Twain once said, “greatly exaggerated,” but he has to try harder if he wants to keep his career off the critical list.
Go see (if you must) “Furry Vengeance” with low expectations, but be warned, it’s worse even than you think it is.