, 91 min, 2008
Director: Raja Gosnell
Writers: Analisa LaBianco (screenplay), Jeffrey Bushell (screenplay) (as Jeff Bushell), Jeffrey Bushell (story) (as Jeff Bushell)
Stars: Drew Barrymore, George Lopez, Piper Perabo
I can’t quite put my finger on what it is about computer-manipulated live action animals (you know, the ones that have mouths that are moving in an attempt to match the dialogue) that creeps me the hell out. When you can’t enjoy a goofy, dumb kids’ comedy and you are driven to distraction by such minute details, something is rotten in Denmark. Such is the tip of the iceberg of problems with Beverly Hills Chihuahua, the latest idiotic Disney production.
Chloe (voiced by the, I imagine, radiant Drew Barrymore) is a stuck-up, pampered, spoiled rotten chihuahua who lives with successful international business magnate Aunt Viv (Jamie Lee Curtis). Aunt Viv has a stuck-up, pampered, spoiled rotten and utterly unreliable niece named Rachel (Piper Perabo, who looks better than this film deserves). Aunt Viv has to leave town and decides to leave Chloe in Rachel’s charge. Rachel, being the ever trust-worthy relative, takes Chloe to Mexico for the weekend and loses her – first to a dog fight promoter whose prize pooch is aptly named Diablo (Edward James Olmos), and then to an escape from said dog fight promoter led by Delgado (Andy Garcia), a wounded and haunted ex-police dog. Meanwhile, the landscaper’s dog Papi (George Lopez) is immediately smitten with Chloe and, upon learning of her disappearance South of the Border, must go after her.
No less than two screenwriters were employed in the making of this film, perhaps so neither one could take sole blame for its inanity. It has been not so much directed as committed (if barely competently) by hack-for-hire Raja Gosnell (Big Momma’s House, the Scooby-Doo movies, the Yours, Mine & Ours remake), who made his career editing such Chris Columbus fare as Nine Months, Mrs. Doubtfire and the Home Alone films before directing the third one (it was his 1997 debut).
Okay, so I know I’m not the audience for this film. Not by a longshot. But who is? My guess is one of two groups: school children raised on innocuous would-be entertaining “family films” and mentally retarded aliens who’ve never experienced cinema before. To those who would waste their 91 minutes I ask this: Which audience are you?