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‘G-Force’: The Attraction is Weak

A goon squad of guinea pigs in eye-popping 3-D. When you think about the project's pedigree, it's weird but oddly inevitable.

And who better to pull off such a feat than family-friendly Disney, which gave us an endearing rodent culinary whiz in Ratatouille in concert with action-meister producer Jerry Bruckheimer (Pirates of the Caribbean)?

The powerhouse coupling means you can count on chases and explosions, plus a distinctly cute and cuddly factor.

The film's casting, for both its in-the-flesh performances and vocal talent, has some bright spots. Bill Nighy is having fun playing the villainous billionaire, Saber. And the trio of guinea pigs, voiced by Penelope Cruz, Tracy Morgan and Sam Rockwell, are lively.

The script has a few funny lines. For the parents and other adults in the audience, there are grown-up movie allusions. But the look of the cute, computer-generated guinea pigs, hamsters and mice will be the main hit with kids, especially in 3-D.

Zach Galifianakis is Ben, a nerdy scientist. He has trained rodents to work for the federal government as accomplished spies. Not only do they talk, but they also carry out espionage plots. The three guinea pigs do most of the legwork: Darwin (Rockwell) is the no-nonsense leader, Juarez (Cruz) is a sassy martial arts expert, and Blaster (Morgan) is a weapons expert.

The critter experiment is inexplicably shut down by officious federal agents (headed by Will Arnett), just as they are about to crack a case involving an appliance mogul (Nighy). World domination is at stake.

Characters are broadly drawn, and a few have faintly disturbing racist undertones. It's hard to know whether the trio of chirpy mice in a pet store is ripped off from the mice in 1995's Babe or simply an homage.

G-Force is unlikely to keep anyone older than 10 on the edge of his seat, and the bathroom humor may annoy adults. But the message of unity, while unoriginal, is consistently sweet.

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