Guinea pigs go wild in G-Force

4304/1248372118-gforce2.jpg There's an adorable Lorain County band called G-Force, fronted by little daughters of an area musician; check the girls out at the community fete sometime, doing their peppy covers of Gwen Stefani or Avril Lavigne. If I were their father I'd make 'em do "Rehab" or some Marilyn Manson or Niggaz With Attitude. Just to stir the pot. Good thing the idea of parenthood viscerally appalls me. Still I could hardly be faulted by Social Services for taking children to G-Force, a generally okay summer kiddie frolic representing an alliance between Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer films. Yes, there's barely any breathing room in the CGI-dependent, Ritalin-deficient, Simpson-Bruckheimeresque action-spazz narrative that centers around a trio of superspy-commando guinea pigs trained by an eccentric scientist to talk and act secret-agent crimefighters. Imagine Spy Kids' Pets as an alternate title, although (rather curiously and, dare I say, refreshingly), there are few child characters. The wonder critters, AKA G-Force, are macho Darwin (voice of Sam Rockwell), sultry-in-a-lower-vertebrate-way Juarez (voice of Oscar-winner Penelope Cruz) and funky dude Blaster (Tracy Morgan). Some other rodents and insects round out the team.

Their target is a standard spy-flick-bad-guy-with-a-suave-British-accent (Bill Nighy) with household appliances timed to detonate imminently with an evil mystery chip. I don't want to spoil things, but shape-shifting "Transformer" robots are now pretty stale as plot devices. I vote retirement, even if it is the digital-FX-du-jour for grads of our illustrious cinema schools. Pack them up, send back to Japan where they belong. That said, great eye candy awaits in the "Real 3-D" version of G-Force, as the depth effects are nicely wrought. The clever-in-fits-but-lose-the-fart-gags screenplay is credited to adult children of the political-humor novelist Leonard Wibberley, who concocted The Mouse That Roared series, some of which came to celluloid form, anyone remember? There was a lesser-known, unfilmed sequel, The Mouse on Wall Street that dealt with widespread economic collapse - and might make for some piquant reading today. But if anyone adapts that for Hollywood nowadays,
I fear rampaging transformer robots will be insinuated. ** 1/2

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