When animals act like humans, we think it’s funny. Put a chimp in a suit and tie. That is comedy gold.
“G-Force” attempts to mine that gold.
The movie centers on a group of rodents and a fly. Three of the rodents are Guinea pigs and one a mole. They are part of a government program where the group does spy missions, a la James Bond.
Darwin (Sam Rockwell) leads the group as they infiltrate Saber’s (Bill Nighy) home. Saber is a former arms dealer that switched to making home appliances. His new program will turn his coffee makers into killer robots. It is a simple sounding program where the coffee makers know how much coffee one uses, but this program does much more. Juarez (Penelope Cruz) and Blaster (Tracy Morgan) are his inside partners. Underground is Speckles the mole (Nicolas Cage) providing computer link-up. Mooch the fly is overhead doing recon.
Their human contacts are Ben (Zach Galifianakis) and Marcie (Kelli Garner). Ben and Marcie are the face to the government that funds it all. But the agent (Will Arnett) from the F.B.I. does not believe in their mission and shuts down the program.
G-Force escapes to a pet shop where they meet up with a group of fellow rodents who are up for sale. These include an overweight Guinea pig (Jon Favreau) and a neurotic hamster (Steve Buscemi). And do not forget about the adorable mice (Hoyt Yeatman and Max Favreau), who act as Greek chorus to the goings-on in the pet shop. Darwin and company must escape and stop the plans of Saber.
I must admit, this is not a great movie. There are problems with it. All the animals with actors attached to them can talk to humans. The other animals, like the dogs that chase them, cannot. Some of the humans can hear them and some cannot.
Also, the animals’ ability is not altered. It is natural. They are not given any enhancements. That is troublesome. In other words, they can talk and do all these things naturally. They are just better trained than other animals.
All of these are adult concerns. This movie is not aimed at adults. It is targeted at the tweens who go to the movies in the summer. It is also targeted at parents looking for something to take the kids to see that will not give them nightmares or show them things that they do not need to see. On that count, it succeeds.
There is also a chance to talk about redemption when the movie is done. That theme is a big part of the story. Also included is the idea that we are who we are and even the “runt of the litter” can do great things. Parents can talk to their younger children about how they feel being the youngest and the smallest. This movie offers great opportunities to talk to children about feeling small and less than.
But let me say big kids can like it as well. My oldest son, 18, went to see it with me and my younger son, 13. Both enjoyed the movie and were entertained throughout. That is as strong an endorsement as I can give for a movie.
Mike Parnell is pastor of Beth Car Baptist Church in Halifax, Va.
MPAA Rating: PG for mild violence and rude humor
Director: Hoyt Yeatman
Writers: Marianne and Cormac Wibberley
Cast: Bill Nighy: Saber; Sam Rockwell: Darwin; Penelope Cruz: Juarez; Tracy Morgan: Blaster; Nicholas Cage: Speckles; Zach Galifianakis: Ben; Kelli Garner: Marcie; Jon Favreau: Hurley; Will Arnett: Agent Killian; Hoyt Yeatman and Max Favreau: Mice.
The movie’s official web site is here.
Michael Parnell is pastor of Temple Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. He is married and has two boys. His love is for movies, and he can be found in a theater most Fridays.