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COLUMBIA TRISTAR

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Luke Greenfield
Cast:
Rob Schneider, Colleen Haskell, John C. McGinley, Edward Asner, Michael Caton, Louis Lombardi, Guy Torry, Bob Rubin
Writing Credits:
Tom Brady, Rob Schneider

Tagline:
He wasn't much of a man ... Now he's not much of an animal.

Synopsis:
Comic genius Rob Schneider (Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, Big Daddy), TV's "Survivor" Colleen Haskell, John C. McGinley (Any Given Sunday, The Rock) and Edward Asner (The Bachelor, JFK) star in one of the funniest and wildest uncut comedies ever! When evidence clerk Marvin Mange (Schneider) answers a 911 burglary call, his dream of becoming a cop seems to be coming true. But a car accident en route to the crime leaves Marvin and his dream shattered. When Marvin awakens later, he finds that a deranged scientist secretly used animal organs to rebuild his broken body. Energized by his new and improved parts, Marvin achieves instant fame as a super cop ... until his animal instincts start taking over his body at all the wrong times. And when he finds himself falling for the lovely and sexy Rianna (Haskell), it's animal magnetism at its craziest.

Box Office:
Budget
$22 million.
Opening Weekend
$19.610 million on 2788 screens.
Domestic Gross
$55.762 million.

MPAA:
Rated R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.85:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Closed-captioned

Runtime: 84 min.
Price: $19.95
Release Date: 2/3/2004

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Luke Greenfield
• Audio Commentary with Actor/Co-writer Rob Schneider and Co-producer John Schneider
• Deleted Scenes
• “Reel Comedy” Special
• “The Making of The Animal” Featurette
• “What’s In Marvin?” Game
• Trailers


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RELATED REVIEWS


The Animal: Uncut Special Edition (2001)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 5, 2004)

In today’s “Huh?” file comes this new DVD of Rob Schneider’s 2001 mini-hit The Animal. The film took in a modest but profitable $55 million and resulted in what seemed to be a fairly decent original DVD release back in 2001. For this new 2004 version, we get an uncut rendition of the film. Was there some public outcry that demanded more of The Animal? I don’t know, but here it is!

At the start of The Animal, we meet sad-sack Marvin Mange (Schneider). He pines for Rianna “Hummingbird” Holmes (Colleen Haskell), a local environmental activist he sees on TV. Marvin works as a police evidence clerk, and he can become a full-fledged cop if he passes the obstacle course. Unfortunately, he fails for the fourth time.

When the rest of the squad abandons the station for a softball game, Marvin gets left in control. He receives an emergency call and takes it himself. On the way, however, he swerves to avoid a sea lion in the road and experiences a terrible crash. Marvin sees weird visions of a doctor and animals who operate on him, and when he wakes up, he finds he’s been away for more than a week.

Back among the living, Marvin starts to go through some weird experiences as he displays animalistic tendencies. He intimidates the neighbor’s dog, even though the pooch used to attack him. He grows hair in unlikely places, his asthma vanishes, and he finds himself with enhanced physical capabilities.

The film pursues two plot lines. Marvin tries to romance Hummingbird, and the pair slowly become an item. In addition, some sort of “beast” roams the land, and Marvin comes under suspicion for this. The movie explores both these topics as it heads toward its wacky conclusion.

If you want to know what kind of movie The Animal is, let’s look at some of the material seen in its first 10 minutes. During that period, 1) children violently abuse Marvin; 2) Marvin’s face stares closely at the huge behind of a fellow police candidate; 3) he brawls with an elderly lady; 4) he takes a bullet to his crotch; and 5) he pees in his pants. Don’t take that as a full accounting of the flick’s crudeness during this brief span; I only included the highlights!

Yes, Animal follows the Adam Sandler mode and often goes for the gross-out moments. It doesn’t maintain this breakneck pace from start to finish, though. While many of these sorts of gags appear, they don’t come with the rapidity observed through the first 10 minutes. Still, they add up to a lot of crass material that rarely serves to amuse.

Actually, little about Animal seems funny. The vast majority of the bits fall flat and fail to become entertaining. Probably the best moment stems from a humorous cameo by Schneider’s old SNL buddy Norm MacDonald; as part of the mob that chases the beast, he adds some amusingly droll remarks. A cameo from Sandler proves less entertaining, though.

While Schneider rarely provides humor, he seems more likable than I expected. He offers a likable sense of loser charm as Marvin, and this helps make the movie more watchable. This doesn’t mean the film’s funny, but at least Schneider’s manner gives us something moderately enjoyable.

Best known as one of the contestants on Survivor, Haskell shows virtually no charisma as Hummingbird. Her acting isn’t terrible, but she seems flat and bland. I will give the movie credit for her casting in one way: physically, she suits the part. Haskell looks like an eco-gal, and she also doesn’t seem unattainably beautiful. She’s cute but not better than that and actually looks like a woman potentially in the reach of someone like Schneider.

Overall, I found like humor in The Animal, but I didn’t think the film was terrible. Despite the lack of many laughs, it offered enough minor charm to remain watchable. That doesn’t become a recommendation, but at least the film avoided being as crummy as it could have been.

Note that this DVD includes the “uncut” version of The Animal. I never saw the original, so I don’t know what differences occur. The running times seem virtually identical, so any extensions appear minor. It looks like some shot substitutions occur, though. For example, in the supplements, it appears that the Badger Milk models keep their tops on, while they drop them in the uncut version of the flick.


The DVD Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

The Animal appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. All in all, The Animal provided a terrific little transfer.

Sharpness consistently looked solid. No problems with softness or fuzziness occurred during the movie. Instead, it always came across as tight and well defined. Jagged edges and shimmering created no concerns, and I noticed no signs of jagged edges. A little light grain occurred during a few interiors, but otherwise the movie seemed free of source concerns. The image was clean and displayed no specks, marks, grit or other flaws.

The Animal enjoyed a natural palette that came across well. The colors consistently appeared vivid and dynamic. The various hues were smooth and clean and displayed the tones quite nicely. Blacks were deep and firm, while low-light shots appeared concise and well defined. Ultimately, the movie presented a clear and lively transfer.

While not as good as the picture, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of The Animal seemed solid for this sort of movie. Although the soundfield displayed a fairly strong orientation toward the forward channels, it broadened nicely when necessary. For the most part, the track concentrated on good stereo imaging for the music as well as ambient effects. However, with all the animal activity, the material spread out neatly.

Marvin’s new prowess allowed the flick to have some fun, and a few other sequences like the car crash also opened up the track. Those used the surround channels reasonably well. The car moved from front to rear neatly and rolled around back there to good effect. The soundfield wasn’t wildly active, but it broadened the audio well.

Sound quality seemed decent. Speech was generally natural and distinctive, with no issues connected to edginess or intelligibility. Effects were concise and accurate and showed loud low-end at times. For example, punches and gunshots exhibited deep bass, though those elements were a little boomy at times. Music sounded good but not great. The score and rock songs heard on the track were usually fairly well defined, but some of them seemed a little lifeless. Overall, The Animal offered a pretty positive auditory experience.

This “Uncut Special Edition” of The Animal includes a mix of supplements. From what I can tell, all of them repeat from the original DVD.

We find two separate audio commentaries. The first comes from director Luke Greenfield, who offers a running, screen-specific affair. This piece starts fairly well, as Greenfield chats about what it was like to work on his first feature film and the various challenges engendered by the rapid production schedule. He also gets into some elements of the shoot like sets, locations, effects, working with animals, changes from the script and unused footage. Occasionally, Greenfield goes over elements that he wasn’t allowed to complete and notes parts of the flick he doesn’t much like, though he usually gives these a positive spin. Unfortunately, Greenfield’s chat quickly loses steam and he mostly just tells us how funny he finds the material and how great everything and everyone involved is. This makes his commentary sporadically informative but generally tedious and lackluster.

For the second commentary, we hear from actor/co-writer Rob Schneider and co-producer John Schneider, who give us a running, screen-specific discussion. Rob heavily dominates and generally makes this a really screen-specific track. This seems good and bad. On one hand, Rob tells us a fair number of fun details such as the methods used to execute various visual tricks and the bits with the animals. He also lets us know who came up with various jokes and he identifies various minor participants. Unfortunately, he dwells on happy talk much of the time, as he chats about how funny the whole thing is. I can’t say I learned a ton from this commentary, but it generally seems moderately entertaining.

After this we get four Deleted Scenes. They run between 27 seconds and 57 seconds for a total of two minutes, 37 seconds of footage. One of these extends the airport scene, while the others present short but new pieces. Don’t expect anything special, as they all offer gags similar to those already in the flick.

Comedy Central’s Reel Comedy lasts 21 minutes and 55 seconds and includes movie clips, behind the scenes bits, and interviews with participants. We hear from Rob Schneider, Colleen Haskell, and Adam Sandler. This show tries hard to be cute and wacky and fails. It presents very little information about the creation of the film and it includes far too many snippets from the flick. Skip this promotional affair.

Next we locate a featurette called Making of The Animal. In this eight-minute and 52-second program, we receive the usual mix of bits from the set, movie snippets, and interviews. We get notes from Rob Schneider, director Greenfield, and Colleen Haskell. They talk about Schneider’s skills, working with animals, how Greenfield got the job and his appeal, and some other elements. A few minor tidbits emerge, but this mostly sits as a bland and puffy show.

After this we get a game titled What’s In Marvin?. Actually, this isn’t really a game; it just allows you to pick a few animal icons and see movie snippets connected to those critters. It seems pretty useless. The DVD finishes with trailers for The Animal, Adam Sandler’s Eight Crazy Nights, Anger Management, The New Guy and Stripes.

As I watched The Animal, I thought that it could have been worse than it was. However, it also could have been much better. Laughs occurred very sporadically, and the best I can say is that the experience seemed generally painless. The DVD presented excellent picture with solid sound and a fairly long but somewhat fluffy roster of extras. The Animal might work for Rob Schneider fans or the easily amused, but I can’t recommend this generally weak flick for anyone else.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.5 Stars Number of Votes: 18
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32:
71:
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