A lack of vanity is generally a prerequisite for comedic actors, especially those who do any kind of physical business, but Brendan Fraser’s enthusiasm for embarrassing himself goes further than most. He’s the anti-Hugh Grant, a shameless ham with no pretense to sophistication, which is what makes him endearing in spite of his propensity for appearing in bad movies. Other actors might feel some compunction about playing a hapless Wile E. Coyote to a pack of crafty raccoons, skunks, and other forest animals, but not Fraser, who eagerly falls into every trap and absorbs every blow to the head or groin with the same giddy, anything-goes spirit.
While Fraser’s presence doesn’t necessarily elevate Furry Vengeance into something better than the dumb, lowbrow timewaster it aspires to be, Fraser does make it a little easier to digest. He stars as a real-estate man who moves his reluctant wife (Brooke Shields) and teenage son (Matt Prokop) from New York to the Oregon wilderness to spearhead a development project. Driven by his career ambition and a megalomaniacal boss (a funny Ken Jeong), Fraser sets out to build a sprawling subdivision in an “eco-friendly” way, but the local animal population rightly sees through his plans. Led by a raccoon mastermind, the forest creatures come together for an all-out assault on Fraser until he and his bosses finally relent.
Produced by Participant Media, which backs projects of social relevance, Furry Vengeance grafts on a surprisingly tough message about so-called “eco-friendly” companies and the green PR schemes they devise to paper over their destruction of the environment. But such high-mindedness feels conspicuously out of place in a movie where the smartest character has four legs. An absurdly overqualified cast of bit players—Rob Riggle, Samantha Bee, Wallace Shawn, The Office’s Angela Kinsey—contribute where they can, but Furry Vengeance is fundamentally about Brendan Fraser getting beat up by creepily anthropomorphized animals. Proceed at your own risk.