Directed by Luke Greenfield, starring Rob Schneider, Colleen Haskell, Michael Caton, John C McGinley and Ed Asner.

Saturday Night Live veteran Schneider is Marvin Mange, an eternal loser with a dream of becoming a police officer like his late father. So far, he's made it to the lofty heights of precinct clerk but, given that he can't even control a group of visiting kids, the prospects for promotion look slim. Until he's rescued from a wilderness car wreck by oddball doctor Wilder (Caton), who promptly saves Marvin's life by transplanting animal organs into his body. With no memory of the crash or operation, Marvin returns to work but soon finds that his time with furry friends in Wilder's lab have given him unique abilities in the fight against crime.

Forget acting, forget plot, forget substance, 'The Animal' is just a series of sketches linked by the gurning and explosion-in-a-mattress-factory hairdo of the leading man. Written by Schneider, this wafer thin hokum comes across as the Farrelly Brothers ('Kingpin', 'There's Something About Mary') for the Under 12's with bodily fluid jokes aplenty but little in the way of lasting laughs.

Schneider has his moments (in particular a date with love interest Collen Haskell) but grunting like a pig and barking like a dog would hardly challenge the acting range of most four-year-olds. Bizarrely, some of the gags are quite adult and well worked, in particular the rantings of one character who maintains that any ounce of luck is because he's black. You will come away thinking that Schneider and director Luke Greenfield wanted to be a little more risqué but were held back by studio bosses who wanted something a little safer for the family market.

No classic but far less offensive than the witless dross like 'See Spot Run' that kids have endured on their time off.

Harry Guerin