Starring: Ludacris, Will Arnett, Natasha Lyonne, Stanley Tucci, Alan Cumming
Director: Raja Gosnell
Max (Ludacris) is a police dog who prefers to work with out a partner. A tough and worldly rottweiler, he’s the last dog you’d expect to see at a dog show. But when he’s on the case of a kidnapped baby panda who he’s sworn to rescue from smugglers, he reluctantly teams up with FBI Agent Frank (Arnett) and goes undercover, with the help of some human and canine friends, at a famous dog show in Vegas.
It’s essentially Miss Congeniality with dogs, and some very PG jokes and situations. And it’s garnered some pretty mixed reviews so far.
The plot of the film is fairly standard, which means that it hits certain beats right where you’d expect it to, so it has a nice, even pace. It’s not really original in that sense, but tries to use the animals and the Las Vegas location to make it vibrant and different. In this, it’s only semi-successful.
In a film about talking animals, it feels a little odd to have PG rated jokes and situations. Are kids who want to see animals wise cracking also old enough to see a PG film? I’m not sure. Some of the dialogue and jokes in this film are pretty cheesey, and fall pretty flat. Sometimes the animal animation looks pretty slick and natural, and then other times it looks cartoonish and pretty awful. And sometimes the film seems to be an advertisement for the Vegas Tourism Board.
It’s not a game changing film. It’s not terribly original. On the whole, it’s pretty cheesey. But that said, I had a good time. I like animals, and was happy to just go with it. Some moments were pretty cute, there were a few moments that made me smile or laugh. The film has a pretty great cast. If I had seen this film when I was a kid, I honestly would have really liked it, though I might not have got some of the jokes. It’s one to avoid if you’re not it’s target audience, perhaps, but if you love dogs or have some kids to entertain this Summer, it might be a good option.
See It If: with sometimes ropey animation and a lot of cheesey jokes, it’s not a perfect film, but it has it’s charms. Should please some kids and some animal lovers.