Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

In a blind taste test, with all the credits and production-company logos obscured, 99 out of 100 viewers will nonetheless readily—and wearily—identify both sources of breeding stock for G-Force. The film wears its origins proudly on its sleeve: An awkward mating of Walt Disney Studios and Jerry Bruckheimer Films, it comes packed with the former’s aggressive harmlessness, and the latter’s aggressive brainlessness.


The story, such as it is, sends a group of CGI guinea pigs voiced by overqualified stars (Sam Rockwell, Penélope Cruz, and Tracy Morgan, who’s primarily there to chirp out catchphrases like “Pimp my ride!” and “Holla!”) on spy adventures with a computer-expert mole (Nicolas Cage). The four are highly trained commandoes, the end result of an experimental FBI-funded program run by gamely sincere scientist Zach Galifianakis. Their first (unauthorized, warrantless) mission is to steal data from industrialist bad guy Bill Nighy, who might be out to destroy the world with his company’s smart-chipped coffeemakers and refrigerators. But glowering FBI honcho Will Arnett, in full cartoonish Disney-villain mode, pulls the plug on Galifianakis’ program. That sets off a surprisingly draggy sequence that traps the rodents in a pet-store cage along an amiable fart-machine guinea pig (Jon Favreau) and a hyper-aggressive hamster (Steve Buscemi). From there, the story bangs along through a series of loosely linked action setpieces that make not a whit of sense, and aren’t really trying to.

Pointing out G-Force’s plot holes would be redundant; it’s more hole than plot, and more videogame commercial and exhausted-old-trope clearinghouse than film. Events follow each other with a sublime disregard for coherence or story continuity. (The five-screenwriter team collectively logged a lot of time on the National Treasure and Pirates Of The Caribbean movies.) At least first-time director Hoyt Yeatman—a visual-effects veteran on movies from E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial to Underdog—knows his way around CGI. The rodents look marvelously detailed and real, and while Yeatman doesn’t do anything unusual with the film’s 3-D space, he produces an impressively concrete world in which live-action and digital effects are seamlessly integrated, as well as utterly adorable. It’s fun to look at, it’s just a pain in the ass to watch. Even by Disney standards, G-Force is harmless; apart from the anomalous ’70s-movie references, it feels like it’s pitched at 5-year-olds, who might still giggle when the stars repeatedly say “butt,” and might not notice all the moron logic. Everyone else should stand well clear.

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