The Animal (2001) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

The Animal is about a guy who is in a severe auto crash and whose body must thereafter be rebuilt with animal parts. This causes him to develop some animal abilities that make him less of a loser. Sorta. This basic stew follows the usual recipe for movies featuring David Spade, Adam Sandler, or Rob Schneider. The loser somehow triumphs over the cooler, tougher guys, and gets the girl. That is their formula, and they aren't messin' with it. That's OK, I guess, but they need to hire some new writers, because they seem to be burnt out on ways to re-work that template. Joe Dirt seemed to represent the nadir of Team Sandler's school of loser comedy, but now that  I've seen The Animal, Joe Dirt seems wittier than Duck Soup.  Joe Dirt had some moments of inspired surreal lunacy, and it had Dennis Miller to provide a Greek Chorus to comment on the proceedings. Lacking any such wild invention or Miller's detached, cynical perspective on the corny goings-on, The Animal ends up being sappy juvenilia from start to finish.

That's a shame, because Schneider really does a good job at playing the lovable loser character, and The Animal is kind of a sweet-natured movie, but I didn't think there was one genuinely funny moment in the entire 84 minutes, and I can't even remember any of the gags, although I just finished watching it a minute before I started typing this page. On the other hand, my lack of appreciation for the film's humor may be directly correlated to the fact that I'm not ten years old. The Animal is fundamentally a kids' movie, the latest stage in the evolution of those gimmicky Disney films from years back. You remember the ones I'm talkin' about, the ones where the loveable terminal loser somehow acquires some superhuman power or characteristics, ala Son of Flubber. The attempted humor in those films always seemed to be aimed at pre-teen boys, which was pretty cool when I was in 5th grade, and it seems to me that the only real difference between those movies and this 2001 update is that The Animal adds some raunchy R-rated antics and innuendos, like animal sex jokes and some brief nudity in the "unrated" version.

Why does it seem that The Shaggy Dog of today is so much raunchier than yesterday's version? I'm not sure. Perhaps we live in a jaded, sex-saturated world in which today's ten year olds are really into jokes about goat-fucking. Or maybe I have a hazy recollection of what I was like at ten, and I was really into goat-fucking back then. Or perhaps I am wrong about what it was like in 1959 because I was just too dumb and unsophisticated to figure out when the Tommy Kirk Sheepdog was in danger of getting it doggie-style.


Or maybe this film just got confused about exactly which audience it was targeting.


DVD info from Amazon

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1

  • Commentary by Rob Schneider

  • Commentary by director Luke Greenfield

  • Deleted Scenes

  • Original Making Of Featurette

  • Comedy Central's Reel Comedy "The Animal"


There is no nudity in the regular edition, but the two "badger milk girls" get topless in the uncut version. One is named Berglind Icey. I have not yet identified the other.

The Critics Vote

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 4.8
  • Box Office ... youth-oriented comedies can be gold. It grossed $57 million (albeit on a $47 million budget).
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C-. Only for lovers of Spade-Sandler-Schneider movies.

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