Movies with Talking Animals: Career Killers?

24 03 2011

James Marsden used to be Leading Man material.
He preformed well as ‘the other man’ in 2004’s The Notebook; connected with comic fans as Cyclops in the X-Men trilogy ; and he was  oddly sweet in 2007’s Enchanted.  His kitschy singing TV host in Hairspray and apathetic-to-commitment journalist in 27 Dresses were forgivable, but this?   Dude, wasn’t making The Box punishment enough for the year?

Coming to theaters next Friday, April 1, is Hop
In short, the Easter Bunny’s son (voiced by Russell Brand) runs away to make it as a musician in Hollywood where Fred (James Marsden) almost runs him over. Fred takes E.B. in and hilarity, self-discovery, and a minor coup by some yellow chicks who want to take over Easter, ensue.

At least Brand, Hugh Laurie and Hank Azaria don’t have to worry about their FACES being associated with this film, should it flop.  Marsden, co-star Kaley Cuoco, Gary Cole and Elizabeth Perkins won’t get off so easily.
As someone who has had the (mis)fortune of working at a movie theater, kids movies can go either way. If it rains opening weekend, odds go up. But there are only so many talking animal movies a parent can sit through.

That being said…  Here’s a little list I compiled of talking animal movies we really never needed, and the stars who– for no reason other than a large paycheck– signed on for them.

  – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

1.   MARMADUKE (2010)

Starring (voice): Owen Wilson, George Lopez, Stacy Ferguson, Emma Stone, Steve Coogan, Kiefer Sutherland and Christopher Mintz-Plasse.

Now, Emma Stone, I don’t blame you for doing this movie. You gotta do what you gotta do when you’re having a hot year.
And you, McLovin, I don’t blame you. You can try and try but you will always be McLovin!!!!

But Mr. Wilson– Was this the wisest choice we could have made to follow-up Marley & Me? Two dog movies in a very short period of time… Give us another John Beckwith, and fast, so I’m not ashamed to like you anymore! 

This movie may have taken in $78 million, but it ruined a classic Sunday comic and killed the braincells of 7-year-olds across the country.


Starring (voices): Drew Barrymore, Andy Garcia, George Lopez [Repeat Offender!], Cheech Marin and Luis Guzman.

I’m leaving Jamie Lee Curtis out of this, because her early work (HALLOWEEN, A FISH CALLED WANDA, MY GIRL) makes up for the junk she’s making now (CHRISTMAS WITH THE KRANKS, YOU AGAIN).

Drew Barrymore… Drew. Barrymore.
In the same year that you appear in Grey Gardens, which was outstanding, you make this crap?  This part doesn’t do anything for a career already peppered with questionable role choices (MUSIC & LYRICS? DUPLEX? RIDING IN CARS WITH BOYS?)

 Andy Garcia. What, did you get bored counting your OCEANS money?  It hurts me, literally hurts me, to have heard the guy from WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN’s voice coming out of a freaking German Shephard.


3.  GARFIELD  (2004)


Starring: Breckin Meyer, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Bill Murray (voice)


Oh, Breckin Meyer. I had high hopes for you.
I absolutely loved the doofy-but-lovable stoner in Clueless and I rooted for you in Road Trip and Rat Race
[You + Amy Smart = Playful, fresh…  Loved it. Call her. Make another movie!!!]

I guess I will just have to accept that you have relegated yourself to the brother and best friend parts (Ghosts of Girlfriends Past), and behind-the-scenes work in animation (Robot Chicken).

Jennifer Love Hewitt: You’re the only one on this entire list that makes sense. You have had a long, consistent career, yes -but with THE CLIENT LIST, THE TRUTH ABOUT LOVE, and HEARTBREAKERS on your resume… Can you even take yourself seriously?

4.  KANGAROO JACK (2003)

Starring: Jerry O’Connell, Anthony Anderson, Christopher Walken


Jerry, Jerry, Jerry. You’ve done well for yourself, the family is adorable. But there are only three items on your IMDB that I can say something positive about.
Stand By Me – Greatest 80s Movie Ever. Sincerely.
Crossing Jordan (TV) – You were near-perfection as vulnerable cop in a big city, Woody Hoyt. I loved you, the dynamic with Jordan, the whole show really.
The Defenders
(TV) – Great pairing with Jim Belushi. Looking forward to Season 2

Anthony Anderson – Finally took you seriously when you guested on NBC’s Law & Order SVU.  Loved the bit part in The Departed.  Nice move with The Shield.  Hustle & Flow was ingenius.  You’re going places, but be sure to remind your agent:  NO MORE TALKING ANIMAL COSTARS!

Mr. Walken, this film just didn’t do it for me. Not enough cowbell.  ❤