Rob Schneider has apparently decided to devote his movie career to making Adam Sandler look like a pinky-wiggling highbrow. The Animal, his latest sloborama vehicle, was executive produced by Sandler (as was Schneider’s 1999 sleeper hit, Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo), and it follows the master’s formula of setting up a hero who is such an egregious dimwit loser that the art of screen comedy seems to be devolving right along with him. As Marvin, a wimpish file clerk, Schneider, with a crooked grimace and fashion-challenged mop that make him look like the runt of the Brady litter, is a put-on masochist who revels in his I’m-so-unsexy hideousness.
Following an auto accident, Marvin gets his insides replaced by random animal parts, and they begin to take control of him. If anyone else (e.g., David Spade) had played this role, the joke might have worn out in five minutes. But Rob Schneider may be the only comedian I can think of who looks like he could truly use an infusion of animal id. In the movie, his eruptions of beastly aggression arrive as spontaneously as those sneeze climaxes he used to have as the orgasm guy on Saturday Night Live. The Animal is destined to be branded as ”dumb,” but I’m not sure it’s even fair to apply that word to a comedy with no pretense of connecting to higher brain functions.