Andy the Talking Hedgehog

It’s hard to take adults who ironically like bad cinema very seriously.

Over time one can’t help but notice a distinct pattern amongst the hard-core MST3K fanbase of people marking time until they die.  Don’t get me wrong, in these jaded times it’s nice that people just like liking stuff, and they don’t get too wrapped up in trying to be the coolest kid on the block by liking all (and only) the right things.  But the love of objectively bad cinema speaks to a need for a low-grade soporific.  In some ways it’s worse than enjoying the latest Devil Mouse blockbuster popcorn flick.  At least popcorn is filling.  At least the Devil Mouse allows a viewer to maintain links to the wider community of regular people.  That’s something at least.  Wallowing in bad cinema smacks of rolling with pigs – even if you do it ironically, you’re still rolling with pigs.

That might sound odd coming from a guy that religiously watches Red Letter Media’s series “Best of the Worst”.  Not quite.  The RLM crew adds value to the process by dissecting what works and what doesn’t work about the films they endure.  They’ve got a real talent for diagnosing what films do wrong, from plot to character to visuals.  A guy could learn a lot from their breakdown of a dozen random films.

With all of that out of the way, let’s talk about “Andy the Talking Hedgehog”.

Wait, one more preface, you can thank The Mixed GM for this one.  He live-tweeted his viewing, and the thread was enough fun to read through for me to plunk down four bucks for the SD rental.

Okay, now that all of that is out of the way, we can talk about “Andy the Talking Hedgehog”.

This is not a good movie.  Put frankly, it’s low budget shovelware.  It’s plagued with all of the usual problems of low-budget films, from bad performances to obvious stock footage to padded out scenes to a scattershot script that really needed to be tidied up with at least one more pass by a competent script doctor.  Dean Cain’s presence adds stark relief on the acting front.  He does wonders with the material given, and his obvious charm and talent only highlights the weakness of the rest of the cast.

The plot revolves around a young girl who wishes that animals (and flowers!) could talk.  Her Fairy BFF makes it so, and hijinks ensue.  A couple of crooked janitor types try to steal the talking hedgehog.  Mean girls at school get their come-uppance.  A young girl learns the value of understanding and embracing God’s natural law.  Typical kid movie stuff.

And yet…there are diamonds amidst the rough.

The movie scored more laughs out of me than the last two Marvel films I’ve seen combined.  The movie features an intact and loving family, including two sisters who actually like each other throughout.  A complete lack of obvious Diversity casting distracting from the plot.  In the end, it’s Dad who brings down the hammer of justice and protects his kith and kin. The aforementioned character arc where a young girl learns that there are larger things in this world than what she rilly rilly wants to be true.  These are all things that work well, and they were surprising by their inclusion.  It’s a wholesome film from start to finish, and that’s saying something these days.

For what it’s worth, the producers showed a few flashes of brilliance by explicitly hand-waving away the limitations of their budget.  Why don’t the animals’ lips move in time with the words?  Why does a bathroom lead to Fairyland?  Why would two janitors want a talking hedgehog?  Why is the old cat such a sourpuss?  All of these are answered, and in the latter case in a particularly touching way.

I don’t know the whole story behind “Andy the Talking Hedgehog”.  For all I know it was one big scam where the producers found ten million dollars in investors to make a one million dollar film and pocketed the other nine million.  Or maybe it’s a couple of fresh out of film school kids thrown some money to see what they could do with it.  Or a vanity project by one of the actresses that played a 25-year-old high school cheerleader on Daddy’s dime.  All I know is that the only thing more ridiculous than this film is that it provided just as entertainment as “Detective Pikachu”, and that might be the most damning indictment of woke Hollywood yet.

In the final analysis, I cannot recommend this film.  Not because of the shoddy Foley work, the odd editing, the questionable voice-over work of the star of the show, the stiff acting of the human characters, or the workmanlike writing.  Mainly because, even a full day later, I just can’t get the damn thing off my mind.  We’re nearly a thousand words into a detailed review of the film and there’s still so much more that I’ve barely even touched upon.  Like the rush job of the bullies at school who almost immediately get what’s coming to them.  Or the copyright questions that revolve around what is clearly an American Girl doll sitting on the main character’s bed grinning with that buck-toothed grin the whole time like all of this is perfectly normal.

It sticks to you.  Worms its way into you.  Makes you want to climb a high mountain and grow a long beard to hide your shame and spend the rest of your life contemplating your life, the mistakes you’ve made along the way, and man’s connection to a wider and more wonderful universe.

It’s haunting.

Oh, “Andy the Talking Hedgehog”, I wish I knew how to quit you.

About Jon Mollison

Jon Mollison was weaned at the literary knee of Tolkein, Howard, Moore, and Burroughs. He spent decades wandering in the wilderness of modern genre fiction, wondering when the magic and wonder went out of the world of dragons and space ships. In his darkest hour, he encountered a wise man who handed him the open secrets to crafting works that emulate the stories of the great authors who built the genre. They are easily summarized in but two words: Regress Harder. Now one of the twelve champions of the Pulp Revolution, his self-published works represent a more direct lineage to the tales of action, mystery, romance, virtue, and pure unalloyed adventure than the bland imitations churned out by New York City publishing houses in recent decades.
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