Bearing this in mind, I decided to relieve my sister of two of the harshest film critics I know for the afternoon – my niece Becky (10) and my nephew Hamish (9).
The film follows the story of Dave Douglas (Tim Allen), a district attorney hopeful who gets bitten by a 300 year old dog (kidnapped from Tibet) that has escaped from an illegal animal research facility with the help of Dave’s daughter. The facility however, is run by the evil Dr. Kozak (Downey Jr.) who Dave just happens to be representing in court. Hilarity ensues (or is supposed to) when Dave transforms into a dog himself for half his waking hours, and then, as half-dog, half-man, has to expose Dr. Kozak for the nasty piece of work that he is, while saving his ailing marriage and regaining the trust of his two kids.
Now I know this is a film aimed at children (the little brat kicking the back of my seat all the way through the movie was enough to confirm this) but surely Disney can come up with something better than this dogged affair. By the end of the film I felt like I’d experienced “movie by numbers”, with Disney simply crossing Dr. Doolittle with a scaled down version of Cheaper by the Dozen. There’s even a slight nod to Toy Story, with Dave Douglas in pooch form yelling Buzz Lightyear’s overused catchphrase, “To infinity and beyond,” while performing mild doggie acrobatics.
Fortunately for Disney, the children love it. Becky and Hamish (not the harsh critics I thought they were) laughed throughout the whole thing and even managed to stop hitting each other for the duration of the movie. Their favorite scene (if you really want to know) involved Dave Douglas in semi human state chasing a ginger moggy into an alleyway. Personally, I think the three year old sitting in front of me had better taste, as he spent the entire movie blissfully passed out with his head on a rather attractive girl’s lap (I’m still hoping she was his babysitter and not his mum).
If you’ve got kids of your own, then take them to this movie and they’ll laugh their socks off but if you’re childless like me, then this is one dog that unfortunately needs to be put down.