G-Force -- Film Review

Just because it happens to feature a bunch of cute, talking guinea pigs doesn't for one second mean that producer Jerry Bruckheimer's first foray into 3D isn't anything other than business as usual.

In other words, "G-Force" is your patented Bruckheimer loud and proud, precisely programmed, turbo-powered thrill ride.

There's seldom a dull moment -- but nor are there any that allow viewers young or old to invest in its elite team of furry characters to any satisfying or lasting degree despite the presence of an energetic voice cast.

The force should nevertheless be with the boxoffice as a can't-miss, midsummer family proposition, but those uncaged heroes likely will not earn a place in the pantheon of memorable (not to mention marketable) Disney denizens.

Marking the feature directorial debut of veteran visual effects artist Hoyt H. Yeatman Jr., the caper nimbly hits the ground running, as a team of highly specialized guinea pig ops infiltrate the estate of an evil industrialist (Bill Nighy) who's rigged his household appliances to destroy the planet, Transformers-style.

Composed of highly evolved team leader Darwin (voiced by Sam Rockwell), weapons expert Blaster (Tracy Morgan) and martial arts mama Juarez (Penelope Cruz), along with Speckles, a blind but brainy mole (Nicolas Cage), G-Force would certainly seem to have the right stuff.
However, when their fatherly mastermind, Dr. Ben Kendall (a seriously muted Zach Galifianakis) sees his covert program shut down by dour G-man Kip Killian (Will Arnett), Darwin and company unwittingly become free agents.

Yeatman, whose extensive history of Bruckheimer collaborations is evident in the film's heavily amped action sequences, gets maximum mileage out of the photorealistic CGI, heightened by the 3D technology.

But where the Marianne and Cormac Wibberley screenplay is concerned, those flashy three dimensions hide a hollow center, as the husband-and-wife-team who previously penned "The Shaggy Dog" remake and "National Treasure" deliver a script that provides the most perfunctory of generic characterizations and half-hearted jabs at humor.

It gives the cast, which also includes Jon Favreau and Steve Buscemi, precious little to chew on, though Cage manages to instill his mole with an amusing, throwback Damon Runyonesque quality.

Production values are typically high-end, given an added visual boost by Scott Stokdyk's state-of-the-art effects and Trevor Rabin's score, goosed by a selection of bass-heavy tunes by Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga and Flo Rida.

Opens: Friday, July 24 (Disney)