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Review: G-FORCE

Kate Erbland

by: Kate Erbland
July 27th, 2009


Rating: 4/10

Writers: Cormac Wibberley, Marianne Wibberley, Ted Elliot, Terry Rossio, Tim Firth, Hoyt Yeatman
Director: Hoyt Yeatman
Cast: Bill Nighy, Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Nicolas Cage (voice), Sam Rockwell (voice), Jon Favreau (voice), Penelope Cruz (voice), Tracy Morgan (voice)
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures

G-FORCE will appeal to a a few select groups of people: children who are young enough to be wooed by anything in 3-D, people who are high on hallucinogens or psychotropic drugs, and people who sat directly next to me in the theater and got to hear me laugh and clap my way through the entire film, before announcing to everyone, "I can't believe that just happened." Anyone who tries to sell this film as being conceived for children by sober people is lying.

The plot of G-FORCE is a lame set up for even a  cheesy B-movie spy flick sequel. Our heroes are government agents trying to foil a plot by some evil former arms dealer to annihilate the world. There's a twist, but it's almost too bizarre to be believed. There's some direct cribbing from TRANSFORMERS (no, really, direct cribbing - Michael Bay should really look into this). The agents are guinea pigs. Standard stuff. YES, OKAY, THEY ARE GUINEA PIGS. But any joy we might have had in watching those furry little adorables train to be government agents is missing. The movie is without even a hilarious "getting-it-done" montage about training, set to the dulcet tones of Fergie screaming about getting something, anything, started in here. They are just there. They are just guinea pigs who are also government spies. Deal with it.

To say that G-FORCE is entirely a film about suspension of reality is the understatement of the summer.

One of the most eye-catching parts about G-FORCE is the stand-out cast. But that cast is almost entirely wasted. Zach Galifianakis is probably more amusing unconscious than he is in G-FORCE. Will Arnett's higher-up FBI guy never hits bad cop heights, probably because he has no good cop to play off of. Our primary villain, played by Bill Nighy, is flatter than the newspaper our pet shop rodents pee on. The voice work is considerably better; Nicolas Cage's Speckles is nearly unrecognizable (unless you're familiar with more of his early work, like the epically radtacular VALLEY GIRL), and Tracy Morgan is always funny, even if he's always just playing himself.

While I personally love that 3-D is coming back in a big way, G-FORCE seems stuck in the same rut that most of the new 3-D flicks find themselves in (the big exception as of late being the endlessly inventive CORALINE). That's the "hey, guys, it's 3-D! Did you forget? Let me throw something at you!" rut. One can only have so many random items tossed at them before it all becomes boring and routine. These guinea pigs don't need to be in 3-D, it's just an added gimmick to a movie that is already one big gimmick. It's all in the tagline: "Gadgets. Gizmos. Guinea pigs. In 3-D." I can only assume the entire gadget/gizmo budget was blown on the three-pronged hamster ball we see in the last third of the film. While the 3-D work is weak, the CG effects are pretty amazing. A large part of the audience's ability to suspend disbelief is owed to the nearly flawless merging of CG and live action.

G-FORCE is also stunningly void of emotional resonance. Sure, there are brief moments of genuine emotion, but they never last, and they never hold you. I know we're not going for an Oscar here, but when compared to some of the kid flicks of my youth, it's an obvious weakness in the film. Even now, thinking about (spoiler alert?) Mufasa's death in THE LION KING makes me misty. Everyone claims that kids these days are desensitized to violence and death, but in G-FORCE, no one dies, and even the villain gets away (mostly) scot-free. There are no lessons, and the moral of the story seems thrown in at the last minute. Yeah, sure, something about family or whatever, tie it up, end it.

I would be remiss to not admit that I laughed through nearly the entire movie. It's absolutely entertaining. But it's only entertaining because it's inherently ridiculous, a film that is purely gimmick, a film that could have been thought up by any stoner who has ever watched a spy flick while kicking it with his hamster. It's a summer popcorn flick, but the kind that rots your teeth, not the kind that fills you up.

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  • https://gordonandthewhale.com KateErbland

    Laura Youngkin on G-FORCE: “I had a good time other than the nausea.”

  • allisonloring

    I completely agree on the lack of taking full advantage of the 3D aspect. If you're going to make a movie 3D, actually utilize that feature. Don't just throw a random hamster ball and shattering glass out into the audience. Especially when it's done at random and clearly just to remind you that yes, the movie you are watching is in 3D.

    And the image of a stoner watching a spy flick with his hamster cracked me up more than the majority of this movie. Good work, Erbland. ;)

  • http://twitter.com/LLyoungkin Laura Youngkin

    As someone genuinely terrified of 3D, I am proud of myself for living through this experience. Although we laughed through the whole movie, it was entirely nauseating and I have yet to regain my balance or full use of my motor skills.

    Why were these actors not utilized more? Bill Nighy's character could have been played by a sock puppet. Will Arnett is downright delicious and funny, and Zach is… funny… This cartoon (it's not really a film, is it?) just didn't do them justice. And I called the twist Villain from the get-go. However, the three pronged hamster ball had it's redeeming qualities.

    Two great things came out of G-FORCE: 1. Kate bought us cake after the movie. 2. I discovered my new favorite eye candy, the Dallas Cowboys loving Justin Mentell. Well done, Erbland.

  • https://gordonandthewhale.com KateErbland

    I'll buy you cake any day of the week, Youngkin. I challenge anyone to watch this movie and not want cake at the end, though.

  • m_branson

    no “training” montage? that's absurd. now i understand the 4-star review.

  • m_branson

    no “training” montage? that's absurd. now i understand the 4-star review.

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