2 August 2009

Movie Review: G-Force


2009, 88mins, PG
Director: Hoyt Yeatman
Writer (s): The Wibberleys, Hoyt Yeatman, Tim Firth, Ted Elliot, Terry Rossio
Cast includes: Nicolas Cage, Sam Rockwell, Penelope Cruz, Tracy Morgan, Jon Favreau, Bill Nighy, Zach Galifianakis, Will Arnett
Release Date: 24th July 2009

“G-Force” is a better movie than discerning film fans are likely to expect, which only makes the fact it lags in the territory of mediocrity all the more disappointing. The trailers and promotional material for this fuzzy blockbuster where utterly cringe inducing but the film itself is a light-hearted and forgettable frolic that’s handicapped by its unwillingness to separate itself tonally from other kiddie fare. The movies sense of humour is certainly pandering more to the young but the action is slickly assembled and energetically shot, far superior to the unmemorable storyline and dire live action performances.

The film follows a government unit called G-Force, consisting of humans Ben (Zach Galifianakis) and Marcie (Kellie Garner) along with a group of genetically engineered Guinea Pigs and a fly. The resourceful rodents are Darwin (Sam Rockwell), Juarez (Penelope Cruz) Blaster (Tracy Morgan) and Speckles the mole (Nicolas Cage) who after discovering an evil plot by electronics mogul Saber (Bill Nighy) have their unusual operation shut down by the FBI. Unwilling to give up and receiving secret aid from Ben, G-Force continues to investigate the Saber case whilst being hunted by Federal Marshalls and meeting other crazy creatures along the way.

The cast in “G-Force” are very talented but sadly wasted on such broad and un-ambitious fare. The voice work is decent from Rockwell, Cruz, Cage and Jon Favreau (playing Darwin’s overweight but well intentioned brother) though Tracy Morgan is a huge irritation and the live action performances are lazy in the extreme. Bill Nighy does his best with the part of the underwritten villain but the like of Galifianakis and Will Arnett are tumultuously miscast in their respective parts. Galifianakis in particular is completely out of his comfort zone in “G-Force”, the raunchy and loudmouthed comedian being forced to play a reigned in and touchy father figure to a set of CGI critters. After his uproarious gig in “The Hangover” this marks an unfortunate change of pace.

Director Hoyt Yeatman does a good job of providing “G-Force” with an agreeable candy coating, it’s a massively colourful picture filled with several cherry-bomb action scenes. In a season where big vacuous spectacle has hit new heights, nothing in “G-Force” pushes the boundaries of tech wizardry or imagination but all the same it retains a fun innocence. Kids should really be able to warm to the movies cartoonish dollops of adventure and espionage all given a polish of supremely silly comedy. Alot of the jokes the film throws up are unlikely to please anyone over the age of 12but seeing as anybody exceeding a dozen years is unlikely to take interest in this escapade; such a flaw quickly becomes moot. Even though I wasn’t laughing I could appreciate how the raw and unpolluted goofiness of “G-Force” might have delighted me in my childhood, its combination of toilet humour and semi-serious hi-jinks will undoubtedly agree with the undiscriminating mind of an 8 year old.

Surprisingly though one feels there is a better film in this concept than Yeatman has delivered, a more unique storyline for example would have done “G-Force” wonders. At 88 minutes it’s a minor slice of summer pie to begin with, but the story on offer is maybe excessively linear and familiar, a little added plot driven ambition likely would have made “G-Force” a worthwhile proposition for all age groups. The finale is nicely measured and much like the rest of the film should sit well with the target demographic, it’s kind of like “Transformers” only with added touches of silly and cute.

I certainly wouldn’t recommend “G-Force” as a family night out, it simply won’t entertain adults in the same way that a Pixar or superior DreamWorks efforts might. That said when it arrives on DVD this could act as a useful babysitting device, I didn’t get alot from it but the blend of juvenile gags and frantic action is bound to go down smooth with the youngsters. “G-Force” is unlikely to linger in the memory past this summer season and in the grand cinematic scheme it’s decidedly mediocre, but I can’t help but predict it could be a big hitter for the kiddies.

A review by Daniel Kelly, 2009


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