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The Animal


The Animal

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After floundering through an undistinguished post-Saturday Night Live career, Rob Schneider scored a fluke hit with his first starring vehicle (Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo) by slavishly adopting the winning formula of friend and executive producer Adam Sandler. Like much of Sandler's oeuvre, Bigalow boasted a high-concept premise designed to appeal to the 12-year-old boy in everyone, employed as a loose framework for a series of crude scatological gags. Co-writer Schneider and executive producer Sandler offer more of the same with The Animal, which casts the former as a hapless aspiring policeman who turns into a superhuman crime-fighter after a mad scientist replaces his organs with animal parts. Alternately blessed and cursed with the strengths and impulses of whatever animal happens to suit a particular gag or scene, Schneider attempts to woo a pretty environmentalist (former Survivor contestant Colleen Haskell) while staying one step ahead of police-force nemesis John C. McGinley. Even more lazy, ramshackle, and shapeless than its plot would suggest, The Animal at least boasts one promising running bit—Schneider sidekick Guy Torry's insistence that he's the unwilling beneficiary of reverse racism because he's black. Unfortunately, it never pays off. Deuce Bigalow was nothing special, but it did score a few guilty laughs, most courtesy of slang-talking man-madam Eddie Griffin. The Animal, on the other hand, offers little but the sight of Schneider mugging his way through an endless string of scenes that call upon him to exhibit animalistic tendencies at the least appropriate times. But, unlike the more talented but grating Sandler (who appears in a typically self-indulgent cameo), Schneider possesses a pathetic but endearing quality that makes The Animal's plethora of bestiality jokes forgivable, if never particularly funny, a description that also applies to the film as a whole.