“G-Force” feels more like a pilot for a Saturday morning cartoon than it does a theatrical feature, which seems appropriate for a silly Disney adventure. That might be why the film looks like it was a rush job, something put together in haste and on a budget. What’s funny, though, is that the film works on its own terms – when you’re dealing with a demographic that’s this young, harmless puffery like “G-Force” can go a long way. All its makers want is to keep children entertained, and they know they’re not taxed with having to make “Toy Story.”
It’s probably whimsical enough for most kids, though. It’s about CGI guinea pigs who’ve been hired as secret agents to keep the world safe from bad guys, which is something they’re actually pretty good at considering they can’t be more than 10 inches tall. Their leader, Darwin (voiced by Sam Rockwell), takes orders from a guy named Ben (Zach Galifianakis), a computer-savvy animal lover who makes a variety of gadgets for his rodent pals.
Darwin’s sidekicks include a femme fatale named Juarez (voiced by Penélope Cruz) and a crafty wise guy with an attitude named Blaster (voiced by Tracy Morgan). He provides most of the movie’s cliché one-liners: “Let’s take it to the house!”
They’re up against the owner of a corporation that specializes in making home appliances, all of which were built to carry out his evil deeds. It’s discovered that they all contain computer chips that make them want to attack their unsuspecting owners and eventually stage a global takeover, and they’re set to start trouble in a matter of hours. It’s up to the G-Force to keep humanity safe, and they even get some help from a bumbling guinea pig named Hurley (voiced by Jon Favreau), who they bump into at a pet shop. Hurley literally has more guts than he does brains – you can tell by the way he puts his life in danger just to satisfy his hankering for chocolate cake.
Scenes like that are what make “G-Force” so darn likeable, but nobody ever said it was a masterpiece. There are some elements here that work better than others – although Galifianakis does pretty well as the friendly human who manages the guinea pigs, he’s not very credible in the dramatic scenes, which can make the film sillier than it wants to be.
“G-Force” can be forgiven for some minor faults, though. It isn’t easy to make a premise like this work, and it’s a pleasant surprise to see the filmmakers approach this material with some competency. After all, good films about rodents are pretty rare.