The Shaggy Dog

"Weak"

The Shaggy Dog Review


In the summer of 2003, Disney scored with its update of Freaky Friday, employing the talents of gifted writer Leslie Dixon (Mrs. Doubtfire), Jamie Lee Curtis, and a pre C-cup Lindsay Lohan. The movie not only was a surprise box office hit, but very funny. Lohan deservedly became a star, a fact people are starting to forget, and we re-discovered Curtis's crack comic timing.

Now, with Pixar and DreamWorks making family films kids and parents cherish for different reasons -- The Incredibles being a prime example -- Disney would have been smart to stick to the formula that earned Freaky Friday over $110 million at the box office and critical kudos. It doesn't seem that difficult.

Apparently it is. All the things that made Freaky Friday so enjoyable are absent in the The Shaggy Dog, Disney's latest live-action revival. Yes, the latter movie is a physical comedy, but it's not like Freaky Friday was based on an Albee play; it was heartfelt and it was funny, things The Shaggy Dog don't come close to achieving.

A huge problem is casting. Tim Allen plays the lead role, a prominent California deputy district attorney and clueless father who is bitten by a mystical dog. First, he exhibits the characteristics of a dog, and eventually he becomes one, commenting on the events around him. The role demands a large amount of physical comedy, so, of course, it should go to a 52-year-old. And, of course, kids love Tim Allen. Well, kids in 1991 did.

Allen's one talent, his voice, goes unused. Every line he utters is tinged with indifference, like he knows the material is beneath him, an odd approach since he served as a producer on the movie. As the lead, his lackadaisical attitude makes you lose interest very quickly. A more committed comedian could have saved the material for a while longer, though with a script this bad "longer" might be measured in seconds. Five writers make no attempt to create interesting characters (meaning that Danny Glover, Jane Curtin, and Philip Baker Hall get reduced to props), conflicts, or comedic situations. To wit, one scene where Allen chases a cat features an old woman getting plowed over and a sidewalk café turning into a disaster zone while "Who Let the Dogs Out?" plays. I now know what comedy in hell is like.

The only one who profits from the experience is Robert Downey Jr., playing an evil scientist. When he's onscreen, the Shaggy Dog feels different -- more mischievous, more exciting, more fun. In a perfect world, he should have been the lead, not a former sitcom star who has trouble maneuvering outside gentle chauvinism. Disney has a long relationship with Allen, but it's time to move on. Next time put Downey in the lead. Give screen wife Kristin Davis some backbone. Get Dixon and her insightful eye for family dynamics back into the fray. And, please, for the love of God, put "Who Let the Dogs Out?" back in the bargain bin.

Who let this dog out?



The Shaggy Dog

Facts and Figures

Run time: 98 mins

In Theaters: Friday 10th March 2006

Box Office USA: $61.0M

Box Office Worldwide: $61.1M

Budget: $50M

Distributed by: Buena Vista

Production compaines: Walt Disney Pictures, Mandeville Films, Boxing Cat Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 26%
Fresh: 27 Rotten: 75

IMDB: 4.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Dave Douglas, as Rebecca Douglas, as Ken Hollister, as Josh Douglas, Robert Downey Jr. as Dr. Kozak, as Carly Douglas, as Justin Forrester, as Judge Claire Whittaker, as Justin Forrester's Attorney, as Larry, Bess Wohl as Dr. Gwen Lichtman, as Lance Strictland, as Trey, as Pound Employee, as Doctor, Craig Kilborn as Baxter, as Janey, Rhea Seehorn as Lori, Koji Kataoka as Monk, Casey Sander as Leader

Contactmusic


Links


Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.