A hero named Darwin and a convoluted plot about "global extermination" are the first clues that director Hoyt Yeatman isn't taking the cute route with his cast of animated guinea pigs. Trained in special ops by the FBI, Darwin (Sam Rockwell) and his A-Team–like squad — a speed-crazy bigmouth (Tracy Morgan, stuck with outdated hip-hop slang), an annoyingly coy she-pig (Penélope Cruz), and an encryption-whiz star-nosed mole (a humorously adenoidal Nicolas Cage) — set out to foil a conniving billionaire (Bill Nighy, resembling Red Sox owner John Henry).
Although the banter can be as dry as a pellet, a stint in a pet shop yields a jolt of satire and a guinea pig that farts (Jon Favreau). The copious, Jerry Bruckheimer–produced 3-D action wittily incorporates rodents on wheels, and though it later detonates into a bizarre attack of killer coffeemakers, the absurdity amuses.
Too bad the script's gaggingly overt messages about "family" and "believing" gnaw away at the fun.