Here I was, all primed to drip contempt all over the first disaster of the summer cinema season, when I made the mistake of staying through the credits of “Show Dogs.”
The mostly-fake outtakes from this talking critters kiddie comedy gave me new respect for what actors always say about working with dogs and kids.
Who knew that “dripping” would be the one thing Will Arnett would most dread dealing with in a tale of a police dog and FBI agent who go undercover at dog shows to track down animal thieves?
Clip after clip of Arnett dealing with drool on this, drool on that, and the source of the drool, a Rottweiler named Max. You have my utmost sympathy, sir.
But about the movie he and Natasha Lyonne co-star in — what a bowser.
There’s barely a single laugh in this thing, none from the humans, virtually none from the voices of the assorted dogs, pigeons, lion and panda who play police dogs, show dogs and the rowdy Vegas birds who want to help crack the case.
“Birds of a feather FIGHT CRIME together!”
Ludacris voices the Rottweiler who has nothing funny to say. Not even Stanley Tucci, as the prissy Belgian papillon who mentors the cop dog about show dog life is funny.
Only Shaquille O’Neal really had a chance. He voices a Puli, a dreadlocked champion show dog named Karma. Karma, at least, is quotably funny.
“You can’t push the river. It runs on its own.”
“I don’t think about the future. The present is its own present.”
That’s one zen master pooch.
It’s a lazy comedy in desperate need of joke-doctoring. You can’t just make dogs talk and expect it to be funny. We’ve all heard the butt-sniffing jokes. And referencing another cop-dog comedy is even lazier.
“Who’re you waiting for, Hooch?”
The good news for screenwriters Max Botkin and Marc Hyman is they got a screen credit out of this. The bad news is it was with this movie.
MPAA Rating:PG for suggestive and rude humor, language and some action.
Cast: Will Arnett, Natasha Lyonne, the voices of Ludacris, Alan Cumming, Shaquille O’Neal, Gabriel Iglesias and Stanley Tucci
Running time: 1:32