My World of Flops Case File #118/My Year of Flops II #15 Furry Vengeance (2010)
Throughout much of the 1990s and aughts Brendan Fraser reigned as the king of the green screen if not the big screen. If filmmakers needed a brawny lad to convincingly interact with a bunch of CGI beasties and/or cartoon characters, Fraser was your man. Alternately, if you needed a big slab of beefcake to portray an iconic cartoon character, Fraser was your guy.
Fraser ruled this niche thanks to big screen live action cartoons/CGI bonanzas like George of the Jungle, Dudley Do-Right, Monkeybone, The Mummy, The Mummy Returns, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Inkheart, Journey to the Center of the Earth and Looney Tunes: Back in Action. Acting opposite green screens made Fraser rich and famous but he paid a terrible price for his success.
Fraser had so much success as either a live-action cartoon or a man acting opposite CGI that due to union rules he was legally downgraded to a human special effect/sentient cartoon character. If Fraser wanted to grab a sandwich from craft service, a production assistant would slap the sandwich out of his hand and remind him that food was for human beings with souls and dignity and rights, not sentient cartoons/human special effects. “Why don’t you go eat some zeroes and ones, huh, you sub-human CGI freak? Better yet, why not go eat a computer-generated sandwich? That’s the only kind freaks like you can handle, anyway!” the PA would scold him harshly.
Then Fraser would slink away to the cage where he’s kept whenever he’s not filming and weep softly, longing for a day when he would be treated like a human being and not a toon/human special effect. A distraught Fraser would call his agent, begging him to get him cast in something intimate and modest, something that would allow him to actually exercise his craft, only to be glibly told, “Whatever Freak Boy! The only script I have here terrible enough for a sideshow attraction like yourself is called Furry Vengeance. You spend most of the film being abused by a CGI raccoon but what is referred to in the script as your “No no zone” is continually assaulted as well. Oh, and at one point you refer to yourself as “Mr. Pee Pee Pants.” It’s one of the worst scripts I've ever read but it’s still probably too good for you” only to have Fraser beg his agent to get him an audition for the role.
Accordion to IMDB, Steve Carrell, Bryan Cranston, Jim Carrey and Will Ferrell were either considered for the Fraser role or attached at various times. I suspect the “consideration” consisted of the producers saying to each other, “Man, it sure would be great to have a huge movie star like Steve Carrell, Jim Carrey or Will Ferrell for the lead in this. Too bad no A-list actor would possibly want to appear in a film this dire. We’ll be lucky to get someone like Brendan Fraser for this turkey.”
Fraser stars in Furry Vengeance as Dan Sanders, a hard-charging executive who moves with wife Tammy (Brooke Shields) and pouty, annoying son Tyler (Matt Prokop) from Chicago to a forest in Rocky Springs, Oregon with the intention of turning all of that beautiful, beautiful forest into a residential development.
He runs into a formidable foe in the form of a rascally, trouble-making raccoon who serves as the de facto leader of the animal resistance, as the Che Guevara of the forest uprising. The raccoon does not have a name. Nor do any of the other animals, no matter how essential to the plot.
Now, animals don’t necessarily have to have names in order to make an impression. But it sure as shit helps. How iconic would Mickey Mouse and his pals be if they did not have actual names and we instead had to refer to them as “Mouse”, “Female Mouse”, “Duck”, “Older, Wealthier Duck”, “Dog” and “Other Dog, Which Somewhat Confusingly Is As Much Man As Canine.”
The animals in Furry Vengeance do not have names. They don’t really have personalities either, or rather they all have the same one-note personality: sassy, violent and aggressive.
The raccoon is able to communicate with other woodland creatures through comic strip/comic book word balloons, but only in images, never in words, or at least words humans can understand. So the raccoon can’t really talk, except that it kind of can, but not in the expected way. If that seems unnecessarily confusing, it is! I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a movie quite as confused as to how anthropomorphic its animal characters are at any given moment as Furry Vengeance.
Considering that the animals work together to construct elaborate, Rube Goldberg-stye contraptions, drive and spend much of the film cackling maniacally in a way that splits the difference between the maniacal cackling of human beings and the chattering of sub-verbal forest creatures, these furry little sass pots might as well fucking talk.
The fucking raccoon, and a piece of shit squirrel, and a bunch of VERY motivated, very stinky skunks decide to wreak what can only, and very evocatively, be deemed furry vengeance on their human colonizers.
Dan and his penis get the worst of it. Oh, the groin-based torture our hapless hero endures! Like Wile E Coyote, if Wile E. Coyote was constantly enduring painful injuries to his bathing suit area, Dan gets a leech stuck in “No No Zone”, pours scalding hot coffee all over his penis, has a raccoon spray his groin area with a hose so that it looks like he’s soaked in his own urine and endures further testicular damage while falling off the roof off his house. Our hero is later bitten in the penis by the nameless raccoon, who also pisses in his face for good measure.
Dan finds himself engaged in life or death, winner takes all psychological warfare with inconsistently anthropomorphized critters who have the upper hand in every conceivable sense. They’re smarter than Dan. They’re more disciplined and they will not stop until they’ve succeeded or their enemy is lying in a pool of his own blood, gasping for life as the life slowly leaves their body.
Then one day Dan discovers that the nameless fucking raccoon, who bit him in the dick and pissed all over him, and punched him in the face repeatedly in addition to working in concert with other animals to physically and emotionally destroy him to the point of insanity, has a family. This is a game-changer.
The nameless, personality-free raccoon isn’t just an asshole of the animal world with a vicious personal vendetta against Dan: the fucking raccoon is only protecting his family. Dan has a change of heart and decides to save the forest instead of working with his evil boss and sinister corporation to rob these beautiful, psychotic creatures of their homes.
It’s tempting to say that Furry Vengeance very literally goes to shit in its climax, which features vengeance-mad birds treating an outdoor festival to a Dresden Bombing-like display of overwhelming aerial force as these righteous avengers bombard the hapless revelers with payload after payload of avian feces. That would imply, however, that Furry Vengeance gets progressively worse when the truth it starts out appallingly awful, maintains an astonishing level of ineptitude throughout, and closes in a furious frenzy of shit humor and humor about shit.
The insulting incompetence continues with an endless end-credit sing-along where our human cast and the entire animal kingdom sing and dance to a painfully milquetoast, PG-rated cover of Cypress Hill’s “Insane in the Brain” that only serves to further muddy the question as to whether or not these non-human dirtbags can talk.
The problems with Furry Vengeance begin with a name that feels more appropriate for a lurid revenge thriller about people who like to dress up as Garfield and Nermal and fuck getting blood-soaked revenge on anyone who might judge them for dressing up like cartoon critters and fucking than a funny animal-themed family film.
I would much, much rather see a film called Furry Vengeance with that premise that this nonsense. Watch closely and you can see Fraser the actor lose all hope as he endures a gauntlet of humiliation that mirrors the humiliation endemic in being part of Furry Vengeance.
According to IMDB trivia, “Brendan Fraser admits that he is ashamed of this film.” That is achingly, overwhelmingly apparent. The affable actor’s turn here inspires pity rather laughter. You feel bad for the guy, to the point where I would DEFINITELY watch a follow-up to this film called Furry Vengeance 2: This Time It’s Even More Personal where Fraser, with the help of the furry community, enacts brutal vengeance on everyone who convinced him to make Furry Vengeance. THAT is a plot I can get behind, particularly if they get that nameless CGI raccoon to return. That collection of ones and zeroes has got star power up the wazoo; the bandit-faced mammal just needs the right vehicle.
Failure, Fiasco or Secret Success: Fiasco
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