Will Arnett, Ludacris, Stanley Tucci, Gabriel Iglesias, Natasha Lyonne
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You know when you used to go to the video rental store, and browse the shelves, and every so often you’d come across a film that seemed so ludicrous you’d wonder, who would ever fund this? This is one of those films – but not in a good way.
Show Dogs stars Will Arnett (The LEGO Batman Movie, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Arrested Development) and Ludacris (the Fast and Furious franchise) as FBI agent Frank and NYPD police dog Max, who must team up and go undercover at a prestigious Las Vegas dog show in order to prevent the sale of a kidnapped baby panda. And this premise is meant to be funny because…? Anyone? Will Arnett’s character hates dogs? Max is a lone wolf of a dog who doesn’t like working with others? And they’re meant to come together in the end and learn a valuable lesson about friendship?
Show Dogs is one of the laziest, most mediocre children’s films to hit theatres in a long time; its forced conceit of dog shows being a front for illegal animal trade takes advantage of the outdated notion that if you slap a bunch of cute animals and silly set pieces together, young children will automatically be entertained. Its script is made up entirely of boring stereotypes; one-dimensional characters; formulaic plot twists; obviously telegraphed, moustache twirling big-bads (not the fun kind), and the worst puns heard in a long time. It has terrible CGI for the animals, and the human actors are all phoning it in – especially Will Arnett, whose character is luckily meant to be a grump, as it hides the dead look behind his eyes. This film is the very definition of a slap-dash effort that looks like it was made in 2006.
And yet, Show Dogs thinks it’s reviving the talking dog genre, that it’s being tongue-in-cheek when it’s really got all four feet in its mouth instead. It references other dog movies throughout – like Lady and the Tramp and Turner and Hooch – and whilst this has the effect of reminding you of better dog movies, surely this move means it thinks it’s in the same league? It’s not, in case you were wondering. This is the kind of movie that LITERALLY SAYS that no one goes to see talking dog movies anymore. It’s that tone-deaf.
If you have kids, please know that kids are smarter than this, or at least be aspirational on their behalves. Go see something else.