Thursday, July 23, 2009

Review: "G-Force"

It's hard to play nice with a movie like "G-Force." Yes, I know films like this areCheck Spelling designed for audiences that are only a small fraction of my age. It features cute computer-generated critters who act out, dance to hip-hop music and engage in noisome bodily functions that are eternally delightful to those who measure their years in single digits.

But is it too much to ask for a kiddie flick that's at least passably endurable for parents and other grown-ups? I know not every children's movie can be "Finding Nemo," but is "The Rescuers Down Under" too high to aim?

"G-Force" is about a group of guinea pigs who are trained as secret agents for the government. Oh, there's also a mole who hangs out underground and handles the computers.

The rodents' voices are done by Tracy Morgan, Penelope Cruz, Sam Rockwell, Steve Buscemi and Jon Favreau, so you know exactly what kind of character each is doing. Morgan does an Ebonix-spewing dude named Blaster; Cruz is the saucy Latina Juarez; Rockwell is the heroic team leader Darwin; Buscemi is a nervous guinea pig accused of ferret ancestry; and Favreau is the chubby non-spy pig with delusions of awesomeness.

The actors appear to have recorded their scripted lines, and then spent some studio time reeling off non-sequitar exclamations that are then animated into the action scenes. So you'll see CG guinea pigs flying through the air or running from explosions, and they'll say something that doesn't even fit the moment.

Anyway, the plot: A scheming industrialist (Bill Nighy) has cooked up some plan named Clusterstorm that will activate the computer chips he has secretly embedded in his vast array of consumer electronics. They set a 30-hour countdown, at which point he will activate the plot and all the gizmos will do something ... well, we don't know what, but really nasty.

Problem: After at least a dozen references to the ever-dwindling time count, Nighy finally sets things in motion by pushing a button. At one point he even shows off the button he's going to press. Question: If you have a button that can do what you want right now, why do you need a countdown? Why wouldn't you just push the button immediately?

I should mention that the human leader of G-Force is played by Zach Galifianakis, who played the man-child in this summer's biggest sleeper hit, the raunchfest "The Hangover." I can only hope there's no crossover audience.

1 star

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