Unless you’re a nature nut like Bear Grylls, it’s probably best that you leave undomesticated animals alone. Poor Brendan Fraser must not have received the memo, which explains why the Furry Vengeance star swings with monkeys as George of the Jungle and dodges prehistoric creatures while on a Journey to the Center of Earth. Luckily, he’s in good company: here are ten iconic comedies that milked laughs out of madcap battles between man and beast. Consider their stars’ antics examples of what not to do on your next camping trip.
10. Tommy Boy: Chris Farley and David Spade vs. A Deer
Moving a dead deer to the side of the road is humane. Transporting the deer in the backseat of your car is moronic, especially if you’ve neglected to check if the animal is, you know, dead. Holy schnike! It takes a lot to steal a scene away from Farley. But the deer who demolishes Spade’s automobile definitely gets the biggest laugh in this animal encounter.
9. The Great Outdoors: John Candy vs. A Bear
Can an animal hold a grudge? Candy sure thinks so, which is why he’s convinced the bear he accidentally scalped while camping on his honeymoon is stalking him. Too bad the scene where the grizzly eventually crams Candy underneath a screen door like a traveler trying to shut an overstuffed suitcase is really the only reason to check out this movie.
8. Saving Silverman: Steve Zahn vs. A Raccoon
When an adorable baby raccoon is retrieved from under a house, can its overprotective mother be far behind? Saving Silverman was a snoozer, even with Jack Black’s antics and an extended cameo by legendary singer-songwriter Neil Diamond. But Zahn’s WWE-worthy tussle with a ticked-off raccoon almost saves it from the cinematic trash heap.
7. Kangaroo Jack: Anthony Anderson and Jerry O’Connell vs. Kangeroo Jack
When Anderson and O’Connell steamroller a kangaroo while cruising through the Australian outback, they dress the beast in sunglasses and a sweatshirt so they can take photos with the carcass. It’s pretty morbid, actually. Thankfully, the beast isn’t dead but merely unconscious, and he attacks the bumbling duo once he wakes up. Sadly, for the audience, that meant the “adventure” could continue.
6. Semi-Pro: Will Ferrell vs. A Bear
Another bear attacking a comedian! To be fair, Ferrell’s inept basketball player Jackie Moon puts himself in the ring with Dewie on purpose, as part of a lame halftime promotion. And then he slaps the bear in the face. So we’re supposed to be surprised when the grizzly decides enough is enough and stomps the Afro-headed clown into the mat? Give Ferrell a technical foul for excessive taunting and send the bear to the showers.
5. Christmas Vacation: Chevy Chase vs. A Squirrel
You’re never completely finished trimming the Christmas tree until you’ve got strings of popcorn, an angel for the top, and a rabid squirrel hiding out between the branches. Chase’s bushy-tailed stowaway disrupts the Griswolds’ Christmas and drives the extended family nuts. Yet we do learn, thanks to Clark’s redneck cousins, that tree-hugging squirrels are high in cholesterol. Tasty.
4. Happy Gilmore: Adam Sandler vs. A One-Eyed Alligator
You don’t have to be a trained psychiatrist to diagnose Happy Gilmore’s anger issues. He throws his clubs. He growls at his golf ball. He even picks a fight with benign Price Is Right host Bob Barker. So when the ironically named Happy encounters the alligator who bit off the hand of his mentor (Carl Weathers), he lets out a little frustration by throwing elbows and administering body slams. Sounds reasonable enough.
Ventura: When Nature Calls: Jim Carrey vs. Bats
Flamboyant pet detective Ace hates the “winged spawn of Satan,” as he bellows while being swarmed by the suckers in a dark African cave. Yet bats seem tame when you think of all the other things Ace has done in the name of animal justice. Like crawling out the backside of an artificial rhino and kissing failed Miami Dolphins kicker Ray Finkle. All right-y then!
2. Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Knights vs. A Killer Bunny
A fluffy bunny guarding the mouth of a cave may appear to be relatively harmless. But in Monty Python’s world, the fluff ball comes with a mean streak that’s a mile wide — and the ability to launch itself straight up off the ground onto the face of its foe. In this case, the carnage that ensued was enough to make sure legions of comedy fans never looked at rabbits the same way again.
1. Caddyshack: Bill Murray vs. A Gopher
Caddyshack could be viewed as a societal conflict between snobs and slobs. Or it could be viewed as the story of a delusional groundskeeper waging war against the varmint that’s destroying his golf course. Murray’s dispute with his chubby-cheeked nemesis gets top honors here, primarily because, when the explosions subside, the animal gets the last laugh — and the last dance.