Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I Almost Want To Go See Beverly Hills Chihuahua Now

Excerpts from Josh Levin's review of Beverly Hills Chihuahua in Slate:

Indulgent parents and animal lovers, steel yourselves for pooches done up in couture outfits (who is the canine Edith Head, I wonder?), quadrupedally modified one-liners ("Talk to the paw!"), and a plot that's like a succession of "Yo quiero Taco Bell" commercials minus the fast-food come-on.

Drew Barrymore nails the rich-bitch inflection of pampered lap dog Chloe, making barked-out commands like "I have a mani-pedi at 11 and you have to make my waffles" sound just as grating and odious as they read on the page. It's Barrymore's pleading voice that makes Chloe's downward spiral upon getting lost in Mexico—her diamond-encrusted Harry Winston collar gets stolen, and she's forced to sleep in a cardboard box under a park bench and fight off a pack of strays for a discarded churro—actually amusing at times. Andy Garcia, too, brings depth and pathos to the role of a jaded ex-police dog—his character, the German shepherd Delgado, has the best movie-animal flashback since the chimp Elijah in Being John Malkovich­—and Luis Guzmán does his best dog-voicing work in years as a pit bull caught up in the dog-fighting racket.

But don't be mistaken: Beverly Hills Chihuahua is odd, and not in a pleasant way. Kid movies often depict protagonists who get lost in strange, frightening lands. It's always tricky when that strange, frightening land happens to be a real place populated by a real ethnic group. Beverly Hills Chihuahua scratches vigorously at Mexico's seedy underbelly: Chloe gets captured by a band of dogfighters; has a run-in with a computer-generated, piñata-thieving rat named Manuel (Cheech Marin); and joins up with a coyote who smuggles collarless dogs across the border to America, where they presumably hope to find higher wages, better schools, and improved butt-sniffing opportunities.

Now this is some family-friendly entertainment.

2 comments:

Herr Zrbo said...

I like the line "Andy Garcia... brings depth and pathos to the role". Ha, now that is some good humor right there.

You forgot to file this one under 'Decline of Western Civilization' btw.

Little Earl said...

Done.