The Worst Animal Movies (Animated or Otherwise)

It's Saturday, and that means its time for another very special update from The Tagline. Today I give you, with a mild cringe and some regret:


As we all know, animal movies represent a prolific genre made up almost entirely of movies that make you want to throw up, or that are so dumb that they cause lasting brain damage. The worst part is that, due to their deft marketing and the prevailing belief among parents that they must feed their children a steady diet of incredibly dumb movies, most of these movies were commercially successful. Some of them were wildly so. Today I'm going to talk about some of the movies that represent the dumbest, the weirdest, and the just plain worst. Let's start with a good one (by which I mean a bad one).

You know it's good. Brendan Fraser's in it.
Furry Vengeance: There are times when I see previews for a movie, and I can only assume that the actor starring is being punished by the studio system for some misdeed. This is one of those movies. Already not noted for his prudent choices in movie roles, Brendan Fraser stars as a real estate developer, charged with making a forest a residential development, and other mean things to animals. In return, the animals, who are apparently both smart and mean, do wacky mean prank things, to him, and then he realizes that nature is good, and hurting nature is bad, so he doesn't and becomes a park ranger or something, after they stop the mean old development company. Just typing that very brief summary made me feel mildly ill. This movie represents a perfect storm of a dumb idea for a movie, coupled with a disinterested execution, and topped off with a disheartened performance (and who could blame them) by cut-rate B-grade talent. You could ask questions like "Why are regular animals so organized and intelligent" but a more likely question would be "Why in the name of Jesus Freewheeling Christmas am I watching this movie?" Another question might be "How did this movie make 36 million dollars?" Don't think about it for too long, it's like looking directly into a black hole.

It's distressing to think this movie was
released internationally.
Kangaroo Jack: You know what's hilarious? Movies that are mostly live-action only with weirdly superimposed CGI kangaroos. Oh wait, no it just looks stupid. Proving that you can have a movie centered around antics of an animal and also a movie with a muddled, convoluted and nonsensical plot, Kangaroo Jack is an epic of Aussie proportions. Starring Jerry O'Connell who is probably best remembered as Quinn from Sliders, Kangaroo Jack is not actually about a kangaroo, but rather about a guy named Charlie (O'Connell) who owns a beauty salon for some reason, and gets constantly shook down by his mob boss step-dad. He along with his best friend are dispatched to deliver a package of 50,000 dollars to someone in Australia, mobboss dad intends to have them killed, the money is stolen by a kangaroo, blah blah blah you get the picture, this summary could go on forever. This movie weaves an intricate tapestry of uninteresting and unlikely narrative, and for some reason there's a kangaroo involved. Honestly the kangaroo isn't all that important to the movie, except as a useful plot device, but it's featured so prominently in ad materials that I just had to include it. It is worth noting (and it probably explains the weird marriage of slapstick animal comedy and mobster drama) that this movie was directed by Jerry Bruckheimer (known for directing Black Hawk Down, Enemy of the State, Armageddon, and Bad Boys to name just a few of many).

I keep finding German posters...
Beverly Hills Chihuahua:  Now here is a movie that is centralized around animals that emphasize a racial stereotype! Beverly Hills Chihuahua was not only a nauseatingly stupid, it was also an explosive financial success, netting a solid 145 million against a paltry 12 million dollar budget. It features Jamie Lee Curtis as the owner of Chloe, a chihuahua voiced by Drew Barrymore, lent to Piper Perabo, who then loses her in Mexico where she is forced into dog fights? (that seems somewhat unlikely) and then what ensues is a kind of homeward bound type situation, only with mean dog El Diablo giving chase. Did I mention El Diablo was voiced by Edward James Olmos? That's a lot of serious star power, so I begin to wonder what sorts of devils bargain they all made that forced them to be in this movie, for what I must assume was a pretty paltry compensation (given that the movie's total budget was so low). Disney was behind the project, so I have to assume that there was a sinister aspect to this movie. Someone buried a box at a crossroads (probably the director) and then this movie was the result. Scary.

If a dog with Tim Allen eyes doesn't
give you nightmares, nothing will.
The Shaggy Dog: Going down a list of terrible movies in a genre aimed mostly at children, it was only a matter of time before I would be talking about a movie with Tim Allen. We will doubtless be seeing more of him in similarly themed posts. The Shaggy Dog, also unsurprisingly distributed by Disney, is a remake (the second remake) of a movie about a dude who gets turned into a dog. In this case, Tim Allen stars as a nasty district attorney who prosecutes activists, who are protesting Robert Downey Jr.'s attempts to extract immortality from some sacred Tibetan dog (no I am not kidding). The dog escapes Iron Man's lab, and is taken in by Tim Allen's family. When he gets home he demands they get rid of it, the dog bites him, and do to pseudoscience hocus pocus, Tim Allen becomes infected with something that makes him be a dog sometimes. Wackiness ensues and you know what I don't even have it in me to explain it further. The point is, Tim Allen raises the woof. Despite universal condemnation including three Razzie nominations, this movie grossed close to 90 million dollars. Has despair set in yet? Just wait.

Disney again. Does their evil know no end?!
Snow Dogs: I intend to ride this dog kids movie train straight into the fiery pits of Hell. This movie, also about dogs and distributed by Disney (they've clearly turned this into a money making science) Stars Cuba Gooding Jr. as a dentist in Miami, who inherits his biological mother's team of sled dogs (also a border collie). Cuba Gooding represents a fascinating actor conundrum for me, because he appears to spend evenly half his time trying to prove himself as a legitimate cinema actor (starring in such award magnets as A Few Good Men, Jerry Macguire, and Men of Honor) and the other half of the time trying to undo any work to that effect by starring in the worst movies imaginable (Chill Factor, which you will be seeing again by the way, Daddy Day Camp, and Boat Trip to name a few). This movie falls decisively in the latter category, where the plot boils down to him trying to figure out if a grizzled old dog racer named Thunder Jack is his dad, while he cozies up to an eskimo girl (I know she's not really an eskimo shut up). In addition, the movie features occasionally CGd dog faces, so that the dogs can wink and do other creepy things that dogs shouldn't (the lead dog Demon does a wink that's intended as a sexual innuendo in relation to Cuba and his lady friend, and god I hope I never have to type a sentence like that again). This movie, being supported by Disney's dark and terrible magic, grossed over 115 million dollars, again against a scant 33 million dollar budget. In addition, it is worth noting that Sisqo also appears in this movie, as Cuba Gooding's also dentist cousin. The man can't be stopped!

Is that one in back the sexy lady gerbil? What the
fuckheimer Jerry Bruckheimer?
The list goes on an on forever. Certainly there are whole franchises I did not single out in this post. This includes all movies related to the original Air Bud, a movie about a dog that learns to play basketball and which spawned a grocery list of film crimes  that includes a movie about puppies in space. It would be wrong not to include movies about Beethoven, a big gross saint bernard (it spawned 5 sequels and a spin-off animated series), all Dr. Doolittle movies (including direct to video movies there were five) and also the movie G-Force, which is about gerbils who are also secret agents (this movie was also directed by Jerry Bruckheimer, for shame!). I was originally going to write about the movie Alpha & Omega, focused singularly on the romantic trials of CG animated wolves and which ends like a Shakespearean comedy with a double wolf wedding, but the weird undertones to the ad campaign just squicked me out too much to actually watch it. I don't want to think about cartoon wolves like that okay Lionsgate?

Next week I take a break from big budget to focus on movies with only slightly less big budgets, but that come from smaller studios and thus somehow qualify as independent film. We'll laugh, we'll cry, we'll prematurely ejaculate on Jena Malone and then clean up the remains left behind by some dead bodies. It's going to be a blast gang.
We're going to Reno!


  1. Is it bad I'm taking this list as suggestions to watch next time a few drinks and some laughs are needed?

    1. Not at all, that is absolutely the spirit with which I made this post xD; All of these movies are so horrifically bad that it is funny... though you may need a liquor mind-shield to get through them I will grant.


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