G-(whizz)Force

Movie Title: G-Force (2009)
 Spoilers: No

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I'm supposed to review a child's film about rats (guinea pigs, yes, but rats under another name).

These rats are capable of using high-tech toys that only government agents should be using. The rats kind of are government agents, and the story explains this, as it does how these little furry creatures talk to humans and reliably transmit valuable military intel on a consistent basis.

What I wanted to know was what kind of engineering skills were required to craft lenses and visors and other instruments of great electronic precision down to small enough sizes for mouse eyes to make use of. My question was never answered, so I'll quit asking.

The rats were genetically altered, made smarter, which is how they can accomplish what Chloe and Jack Bauer together accomplish. How these rats mastered the human nuances of thinking in terms of human culture will remain a mystery, but like the rest of the flick, we chalk it up to magic-like technology and are done with wondering.

You can't totally botch a kid's movie. You just can't, no matter what you do. You can't really botch a review of one either, and that's why I've been meddling on the subject of rats this long. What I should say before it slips my mind is that G-Force has one of the most kiddishly old school plots in a while. What does the villain want? Take a guess. Go on…

Time’s up. The answer is, world domination, of course! Ever since the first Nintendo came out, very few kid's movies were complete without having one of two possible goals—saving a princess and/or stopping an insanely wicked villain who is evil just for evil's sake. The latter is the case here as Leonard Saber (Bill Nighy), a wicked billionaire has his heart set on taking over the world.

The resistance is a team of well-trained animal secret agents, each voiced by a celeb. There is Darwin, the team’s head honcho (Sam Rockwell), Juarez, the hottie martial arts gal (Penélope Cruz), with Blaster, the weapons expert (Tracy Morgan). The mole – who is literally a mole – is Speckles, the cyber-intelligence dude (Nicolas Cage). And there’s Mooch, the surveillance fly (Edwin Louis).

There's plenty of action, including one psychotic child who loves to try and slaughter small animals, but it’s all in good fun. You already know he doesn’t succeed, and so I guess that excuses it. The funniest line in the whole film is aimed at this sick puppy, and it is delivered by Tracy Morgan: “I believe it's time to take your medication.” No, it's not very funny, none of it.

The FBI agents could almost have stood in line to audition for the part of The Matrix' Agent Smith. A trip to the pet shop with de-hyped jokes about rats having lots to read from the newspaper that lines the cages comes standard…whether you want it or not. Like I said, not very funny. 

It's been a long, long time since I've seen my old animated hero, Dumbo the Elephant, which is to say, I may have forgotten what it is like to be enthused by a cute little furry stuffed animal. Maybe seeing a digitally created stuffed animal on screen has more meaning to a child than I give credit for. But this hammy presentation isn't going to do anyone's acting resumes any favors. I'm sorry, but being cute and furry is not enough. The characters are not particularly likable or memorable.

Thankfully, the film's pacing is quick. It races along like a Lingenfelter Corvette through the quarter mile, but it sure would have been nice to see this film cross its own finish line in 10.2 seconds! Would that that was the case.

(JH)

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Grade: D+ (1 1/2 stars)
Rated: PG
Summation: A specially trained squad of guinea pigs is dispatched to stop a diabolical billionaire from taking over the world.
Director: Hoyt Yeatman
Starring: Bill Nighy “Saber,” Will Arnett “Kip Killian,” Zach Galifianakis “Ben,” Kelli Garner “Marcie,” Tyler Patrick Jones “Connor,” Piper Mackenzie Harris “Penny,” Penélope Cruz “Juarez” (voice)
Genre: Action / Adventure / Family / Fantasy

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