The Animal (2001)

Animal, TheReleased: June 1, 2001. Directed by: Luke Greenfield. Starring: Rob Schneider, Colleen Haskell, John C. McGinley. Runtime: 84 min.

After receiving organ transplants from various animal donors, a man finds himself taking on the traits of those animals.

“The Animal” is every bit as stupid as one might expect from its plot. Suffice to say, if you’re anticipating a criminally stupid movie, you won’t be disappointed. The cast is amusing, the conflicts are inane; one character thinks he can get away with anything because he’s black, and it gets insanely tedious – and it solves conflicts too easily.

There are some funnies. The jokes mainly involve the main character, Marvin (Schneider) who has to deal with his new animal instincts, and the way he deals with them may make you smile. Colleen Haskell of Season 1 of TV’s “Survivor” is attractive, but she’s about as good of an actress as one might expect from a reality TV show star. There’s not a lot notable about “The Animal.” It’s written by Rob Schneider and Tom Brady. Tom Brady the writer/director behind such hits as “The Hot Chick” and “Bucky Larson,” not Brady the New England Patriots quarterback. I wonder if the quarterback could do the writer’s job better?

Like I seem to be saying about all of the films Happy Madison Productions produces, it’s watchable. But watchable only means it’s not the worst way to kill 84 minutes, and it doesn’t do anything for the genre. The film is directed by first-time director Luke Greenfield.

I’ve always wondered why Adam Sandler has never directed a film. I mean, he’s the producer on all of his non-starring gigs, so it surprises me that he’s never directed anything yet. He has a decent vision, I’d say, with everything he writes, so if he’s willing to give a first-time director a chance with this – he could just do it himself. Why not, right? Maybe he’ll even have a minor hit on his hands? It probably wouldn’t hurt the movie he would direct/produce.

Score50/100

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The Hot Chick (2002)

Released: December 13, 2002Director: Tom BradyStars: Rob Schneider, Rachel McAdams, Anna FarrisRuntime: 104 min.

The Hot Chick is the Freaky Friday of Happy Madison Productions.

Jessica (Rachel McAdams for the first bit of the film, and Schneider for the later part) is a self-absorbed high school prissy female who thinks she’s top dog because she has a jock boyfriend and a great group of friends, but the truth is that she really isn’t overly liked by her general high school. On a regular trip to the mall, she’s attracted to an antique shop by a distant music (probably Adam Sandler’s character playing his drums). There, she finds these ancient earrings that come with a mythic story: A young female princess switched bodies with a peasant by these magical earrings, so she can escape an awful marriage; but what she did not know was that she had to switch them before sunset. Henceforth, she was stuck as a peasant for her life. So that’s the whole myth behind those earrings, and you’re probably thinking – where the heck does Schneider come in? Schneider’s original character is a 30-something career criminal lowlife called Clive. Jess and Clive cross paths when he’s robbing a gas station, and doesn’t make a too-slick getaway. Jessica drops one of her earrings, and at night – ba da bing, ba da boom – they both happen to be wearing the earrings, and they both switch bodies.

Schneider brings his usual antics to the feature. The story and conclusion are mighty predictable and have been done before, but that doesn’t stop it from being entertaining in most areas and endurable in the weaker spots of the flick.

Rachel McAdams was underused in this movie, because in reality she probably got a little bit less than twenty minutes of screen time. There are several memorable scenes offered, and also weak scenes. That’s usually the case with Happy Madison comedies though, because they’re often just comedians doing their antics – and – who needs a plot anyway, right?

An endurable screenplay is offered for us lovers of Sandler’s brand of humour. Granted, there are a lot of weak jokes and just some boring “please make it end” moments, but it makes up for that in scenes of pure comedy, and those are probably followed by a few scenes of mediocrity.

The relationships struck up between some characters are quite predictable. A lot of the characters are one–dimensional, and unlikable. Jessica is a prime example of a one-dimensional character, but she changes with this apparent life-shaping experience of switching bodies with a criminal. A little character development is attempted, it isn’t great, but it’s just okay.

The Hot Chick offers silly characters, and an overly tired premise. Though, it also offers hilarious scenes and entertainment that can be enjoyed over and over, well, until it’s fully worn out. It isn’t my favourite Happy Madison production, but is a great one – and definitely Schneider’s best headlining flick (in relations with Sandler).

Score60/100