Story

Furry Vengeance is a children’s comedy that follows the story of Dan Sanders (Brendan Fraser). Dan moves his family from Chicago to the remote Oregon town of Rocky Springs for a year, while he manages a property development project for Leyman Enterprises. Although Dan considers this a chance to improve the family’s financial security, his wife Tammy (Brooke Shields) and son Tyler (Matt Prokop) feel isolated and unhappy in their new surroundings. It also becomes clear that Neil Leyman (Ken Jeong) is a tyrannical and unethical boss. He has no worries about destroying native environments for profit, despite the supposedly ‘green’ nature of his company.

As Dan focuses on meeting Mr Leyman’s escalating demands, Tammy and Tyler become increasingly dissatisfied with their lives in Rocky Springs. Another emerging problem is that the local forest animals have begun acting together to fight the land development that will destroy their homes. They devise countless ways to sabotage the project and make Dan’s life miserable. As Dan becomes increasingly disturbed by the animals’ cunning and often malicious actions, his family and work crew begin wondering if he has developed psychological problems. The situation gets worse until Dan looks at his current priorities and ultimate life goals.

Themes

This movie focuses on themes of loneliness, isolation and relationship breakdown. In addition, there are several comic references to war and recurring negative references to mental illness and dementia.

Violence

This movie contains a great deal of physical and verbal violence. For example:

  • The forest animals set off a rock fall that forces an unidentified Leyman employee off the road and over a cliff, presumably to his death.
  • Mr Leyman continually yells at Dan and other employees.
  • A Leyman Enterprises security guard yells at and threatens Tammy.
  • The forest animals attack the security guard.
  • One scene contains a flashback to various historical eras, when men who had tried to clear sections of the forest for settlement purposes were attacked by forest animals.
  • Tyler yells at his father.
  • Dan is attacked by a racoon, which bites, kicks and wees on him. In return, Dan hurls the racoon into the undergrowth.
  • The forest animals purposely set off a rock fall, which causes Dan to have a car crash.
  • A racoon unplugs a step-machine while Dan is using it. This sends Dan flying over the handlebars and into the wall-mounted flatscreen television.
  • A squirrel purposely knocks an acorn into Dan’s muesli, so that he damages his teeth.
  • Skunks sneak into Dan’s car and then spray him, which causes him to crash the car.
  • A large goose chases Dan into a bush that is full of bees. The bees sting Dan all over his body.
  • Dan has a nightmare that the forest animals are attacking him, knocking him down and throwing rocks and sticks at him.
  • Hundreds of forest animals go on a rampage at a Forest Festival event. They scare and injure the people there by shrieking, chasing, kicking, punching and throwing things.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie contains some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five. For example:

  • A large, upright grizzly bear suddenly appears from the forest and chases Dan.
  • Dan dreams that he rolls over in bed to find that Tammy has developed a frightening racoon face.

From 5-8

In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, this movie contains some scenes that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example:

  • A squirrel sitting on the road looks like it will be run over.
  • Dan tries to run over a racoon.
  • Dan aims a crossbow at a racoon and threatens to shoot it.
  • Dan yells at and chases a racoon.
  • Mr Leyman tries to shoot a racoon with a tranquilliser rifle.
  • A bird lures Dan onto the roof, where he slips and falls from the second storey. Dan then remains unconscious in the paddling pool until morning.

From 8-13

Younger children in this age group might also be scared by some of the scenes mentioned above.

Over 13

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie.

Sexual references

This movie contains some mild sexual references. For example:

  • Dan says he has to remove a leech from his ‘no-no zone’.
  • Tyler’s girlfriend wonders aloud about kissing him.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

This movie contains some use of substances. For example, an unidentified man smokes a cigar.

Nudity and sexual activity

This movie doesn’t show nudity or sexual activity directly. But it does include the following scenes:

  • Dan kisses his wife Tammy briefly.
  • Dan is shown naked from the waist up, taking a bath.
  • Dan is shown apparently wearing a bra.

Product placement

Products such as Apple computers are used in this movie. In addition, there is a brief musical reference to the Mission Impossible theme. There is also a mention of Bruce Lee and Hannah Montana, and fleeting visual references to movies such as The Blue Lagoon, Grease, Braveheart and Risky Business.

Coarse language

There is some mildly coarse, threatening and discriminatory language in this movie.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Furry Vengeance is a comedy containing some clever animation but with little humour for older audiences. Most of the intended laughs revolve around people and animals intentionally hurting each other or weeing and pooing on each other. Although children will find some of this funny, adults might be frustrated by the movie’s lack of substance. Also, the continual depiction of animals as calculating and almost sadistic is a little unsettling.

The movie’s intended message is that you can’t be successful by being selfish. But this message is a bit confused by the movie’s focus on revenge through aggression.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include consideration for others, forgiveness and kindness.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues such as the:

  • potentially serious consequences of being aggressive, compared to the benefits of sharing and working together
  • vulnerability of many animals, and their inability to defend themselves in the sophisticated way shown in the movie
  • consequences of discriminating against people with dementia or a mental illness.