Movie Review

Marvin Mage gets no respect. Attacked by dogs, whacked by senior citizens and smacked by a bunch of school children, this wannabe cop can’t seem to rise above mediocrity as the abused custodian of his precinct’s evidence room. Then a devastating car wreck lands Marvin in the hands of Dr. Wilder, an oddball scientist who transplants animal organs into desperate human subjects. Chimps. Dogs. Horses. Seals.

The results are impressive. While not exactly the Six Million Dollar Man, Marvin returns to his daily grind with exceptional speed, smell, hearing and dexterity, all of which help him take his life to a new level. He even starts dating environmentalist cutie Rianna (the screen debut for Survivor’s Colleen Haskell, who always seems to be fighting off an unseen glare). Unfortunately, Marvin also finds himself at the mercy of an inhuman libido, which leads to some pretty tasteless humor as this newly endowed underdog tries to harness animalistic urges and avoid capture by an angry mob bent on his destruction.

positive elements: Marvin is a man with vision and determination. Even though physical and emotional abuse is heaped on him at every turn, Marvin perseveres and maintains a sunny disposition. He foils a drug smuggler, and saves the lives of a drowning child and the man obsessed with persecuting him, Sgt. Sisk (this film’s answer to the arrogant, mob-motivating Gaston from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast). Rianna is a devoted conservationist who lovingly cares for an entire shelter full of God’s creatures. Marvin confides in Rianna about his inhuman innards, greatly concerned that he might hurt her unintentionally (“At night I lose control,” he says). She stands by him, convinced that he’s not dangerous, and later comes to his rescue.

spiritual content: When cows turn up mutilated, the police chief wonders if they may have been butchered as part of a satanic ritual (“Do you worship the dark lord?,” he asks his prime suspect).

sexual content: Marvin and Rianna wake up in bed together, suggesting that the couple shared a night of passion. Lust and eroticism range from Marvin eyeing beautiful women (in one scene apparently excusing himself to masturbate), to sick humor about bestiality (Dr. Wilder offers him the favors of a chimp in a nightgown; Marvin comes on to a goat in heat, etc.). Shots show brief rear nudity and women in immodest outfits. Off-color comments and sight gags also involve pornography, oral sex, anal sex, nipples, manual stimulation and “making love to a mailbox.” Gay men exchange a suggestive comment while observing a cavity search.

violent content: There’s a lot of slapstick humor. Marvin gets picked on, beaten up and even shot at. His car flies over a cliff, rolling dozens of times before it gets crushed by a runaway boulder. Marvin attacks a housecat, leaving it bald in spots. He and an orangutan smack each other around and grapple for superiority. Young school kids assault Marvin and spray-paint “loser” on his chest. There’s talk of cows being brutally murdered.

crude or profane language: A couple dozen profanities (including nine s-words) are joined by scatological and anatomical slang.

drug and alcohol content: Two scenes in a bar find men drinking beer by the pitcher. Marvin and Rianna drink wine (well, Rianna drinks it; Marvin laps at it like an Irish Setter). While rummaging around in the police department’s evidence room, a young child is excited to find marijuana.

other negative elements: Urination is a recurring means of showing characters’ extreme anxiety (several wet themselves) or Marvin marking his territory (he pees in a restaurant and on Rianna’s front porch). Flatulence figures prominently in Marvin and Rianna’s first meeting in a men’s room.

conclusion: Produced by the same team responsible for Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, this film also suffers from sexual preoccupation. But this time farm animals have been thrown into the mix. As funny as it might be to see Rob Schneider swimming like a porpoise, swinging through the trees like a chimpanzee or leaping like a hound to catch a Frisbee in his teeth, the whole “manimal” concept should have been kept on a much shorter leash. A quick glance at Exodus 22:19 and Leviticus 20:15-16 reminds us that bestiality is no laughing matter to God. It’s diseased. For that reason alone, The Animal should be put down.

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Rob Schneider as Marvin Mage; Colleen Haskell as Rianna; John C. McGinley as Sgt. Sisk; Edward Asner as the chief of police; Michael Caton as Dr. Wilder; Guy Torry as Miles; cameos by Adam Sandler and Norm Macdonald


Luke Greenfield ( )


Columbia Pictures



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In Theaters

On Video

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Bob Smithouser