The Animal

on June 01, 2001 by Rachel Deahl
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   For wimpy Marvin Mange (Rob Schneider), life is a series of humiliations. A glorified secretary for the local police department, Marvin aspires to be a cop. But, unable to meet the physical demands posed by the obstacle course section of the entrance exam, it seems as though Marvin will never achieve his dream and overcome the stigma of loserdom. Then, after a freak accident, a reclusive mad scientist saves Marvin's life by stitching him up with animal organs. As a result of the operation, Marvin has unmatched physical abilities--correlating with those of his various bestial components--that win him a spot on the force and a date with animal-lover Rianna (Colleen Haskell of TV's "Survivor"). The only problem is that Marvin can't control the animal urges welling up inside of him.

   Though not inspired by a "Saturday Night Live" skit, "The Animal" does come from the production company of Schneider's fellow "SNL" alum Adam Sandler, so it's not surprising to find that it has all the trademark qualities of the films that have leapt from the "SNL" stage to the big screen. And, as is often the case with these films ("A Night at the Roxbury," "Superstar" and "Stuart Saves his Family," to name just a few), the biggest challenge is stretching a single joke intended for a five-minute sketch into something that can effectively sustain an entire film. Needless to say, "The Animal" struggles to provide sufficient laughs for the duration of its running time.

   Watching Rob Schneider hump a mailbox, urinate on his girlfriend's house to claim his territory and try to mate with a goat in heat does get tired fairly quickly. Relying solely on Schneider's animal-inspired shenanigans for cheap laughs, the one running joke in "The Animal" becomes familiar and predictable all too soon.

   Adding to the uninspired goings-on, "Survivor" castaway Haskell turns in a painfully inept performance as Schneider's love interest, apparently having revealed her range in the lip balm commercial she did prior to this starring role. Starring Rob Schneider, Colleen Haskell, John C. McGinley and Edward Asner. Directed by Luke Greenfield. Written by Tom Brady. Produced by Barry Bernardi, Carr D'Angelo and Todd Garner. A Columbia release. Comedy. Rated PG-13 for some crude and sexual humor. Running time: 83 min

Tags: Rob Schneider, Colleen Haskell, John C. McGinley and Edward Asner. Directed by Luke Greenfield. Written by Tom Brady. Produced by Barry Bernardi, Carr D'Angelo and Todd Garner. A Columbia release. Comedy, crude, stigma, loserdom, humiliations, cop
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