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The Animal

Better than Average SNL Star Vehicle?

If you've seen one movie starring a former SNL star, you've seen them all.

Fortunately, there's the occasional one that, even though it has the same basic plot, turns out to be pretty funny.

Rob Schneider's two starring jobs have both been funny, probably because he takes such a zany premise while others start with a more "normal" situation. The concept of a man getting in an accident, and having a mad doctor fix him with animal parts has endless comic possibilities. Schneider and co-writer Tom Brady obviously realized this.

The movie starts off like any of its cousins, with well-meaning loser Marvin Mange (Schneider) getting picked on by everyone. No matter how hard he tries, he just can't seem to do anything right. He has dreams of following in his father's footsteps and becoming a policeman, but he has trouble with the obstacle course. So he's still stuck in his job as a police evidence clerk. Then one day, while all the regular cops are out playing baseball, there is a call about a robbery. Being the only one around, he realizes he has to take care of it himself.

While driving out to the scene, he swerves to avoid a circus seal (don't ask) and runs off the road. Unfortunately for him, the cliff over which he falls doesn't seem to end (this is one of the funny moments).

Then he wakes up in the middle of an operation. He looks around and sees several animals, but doesn't make the connection until later on.

When he gets back to his regular life, he has animal instincts and abilities. He manages to sniff out some drugs at the airport, and thus becomes the newest member of the police force. Over time, he realizes he's having trouble controlling his animal urges, and becomes wanted by the police. So he must set out to clear his name.

The Animal is pretty funny, and everyone involved seems to have had fun making it. Schneider plays his role to a T, and "Survivor" Colleen Haskell is appropriately adorable in her role, but doesn't seem to have much acting talent. The supporting cast includes John C. McGinley, Guy Torry and Edward Asner.

It's a good movie, capable of providing laughs; an all-around good time. It won't go down in history as a classic, but it delivers the goods and, in the end, that's the important thing.

Columbia Tristar has, once again, made an excellent disc. Picture (shown in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen) is crisp and clear, with no visible flaws. The 5.1 Dolby Digital sound is equally impressive, putting all your speakers to good use.

Extras include two commentaries, one by Rob Schneider and the other by director Luke Greenfield, deleted scenes (which are all pretty bad), the original making-of featurette, a "What's in Marvin?" game, Comedy Central's Reel Comedy: The Animal, production notes, filmographies, and trailers.

The Animal, from Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment
83 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) 16X9 enhanced, 5.1 Dolby Digital
Starring Rob Schneider, Colleen Haskell, John C. McGinley, Guy Torry and Edward Asner
Produced by Barry Bernardi, Carr D'Angelo, Todd Garner
Written by Tom Brady and Rob Schneider, Directed by Luke Greenfield.


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