By Jenny Peters
If you have kids, they are probably clamoring to see “G-Force.” Know why? It’s because the MouseHouse marketing machine (AKA the Walt Disney Company) is at full bore on this one, flooding the world with commercials, video game tie-ins, a major-league baseball link, plush toys, you name it, they are selling it to your kids.
There’s a little problem, however, with this film about a crack team of talking guinea pigs who have been trained by the FBI to be super spies. Okay, there’s a big problem with that premise, really, in that it is incredibly dumb one. But despite the ridiculous talking-rodents-as-spies-mixed-into-the-real-world concept, if “G-Force” were actually an amusing, funny, lively kid’s flick, then all would be well. That’s the real problem. This Jerry Bruckheimer-produced film is none of those things.
Instead, it is a predictable exercise in that oft-used theme in children’s fare these days, the idea that a “family” can be any group of individuals that love each other, rather than just those related by blood. The rodents and their blind but brilliant mole partner, voiced by well-known actors including Nicolas Cage, Penelope Cruz, Tracy Morgan, Sam Rockwell, Steve Buscemi, learn that lesson as they roll from one adventure to another.
It does help a little that the movie is done in 3-D, since there are a few fun moments that pop out of the screen. But in a theater full of children, the delighted laughs were few and far between, and if the adults had all groaned out loud at all the ridiculous plot points and hammy acting by the human characters (Bill Nighy and Niecy Nash are particularly over the top), they would have certainly drowned out the tidbits of noise the kids made.
I’m not against talking animals in movies; “Babe” is a personal favorite, and any of Walt Disney’s classic animation films, from “Lady and the Tramp” to “101 Dalmatians” to their recent collaboration with Pixar on the sublime “UP,” are big winners in my book. “G-Force” is just a lame attempt at the genre, with more of the eye on the marketing dollars than the filmgoing experience.
Stars: Bill Nighy, Zack Galifianakis, Niecy Nash, Kelli Garner, and voices of Nicolas Cage, Penelope Cruz, Sam Rockwell, Tracy Morgan, Jon Favreau, Steve Buscemi
Director: Hoyt Yeatman
Studio/Official Site: http://disney.go.com/disneypictures/gforce/
Photos courtesy Walt Disney Pictures.