Initially, my review for Disney’s Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 consisted of two words: “sigh” and “facepalm.” And, although those two words were extremely fitting for the latest in the House of Mouse’s never-ending line of crappy direct-to-video sequels to talking animal kiddie flicks that nobody asked for, I sensed that it was simply not enough — and that I should probably expand on my theory as to why I was in hell for the duration of this 84-minute journey into embarrassment. Sure, it’s a fitting film for the young audiences that it was created for — but most adults will be hard-pressed to sit through it without wanting to strangle go out and buy a Chihuahua just so they can strangle it.
The original film, 2008’s Beverly Hills Chihuahua, somehow managed to make some money at the box office — despite the fact that it was a really bad movie. Disney even managed to wrangle in some famous voices and a few familiar faces for the fiasco: George Lopez, Andy Garcia, Drew Barrymore, Edward James Olmos, Plácido Domingo, Cheech Marin, and Paul Rodriguez all contributed to the personalities of a plethora of talking canine critters, while Piper Perabo, Manuel Cardona and Jamie Lee Curtis were bribed into contributing to live-action roles.
True to the illustrious legacy of direct-to-video offerings, of course, none of the original castmembers were given another chance to humiliate themselves with Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2. Well, almost none: George Lopez — no stranger to dishonor (see his entire résumé for clarification) — returns here as the voice of Papi, one of the film’s Chihuahuas (which shall be known henceforth as “ugly plague-ridden rat-dogs”), while everyone else (to my knowledge, at least, has been replaced by the finest selection of television actors this side of the final season of the original Hawaii Five-O.
The story here starts out with the two lead ugly plague-ridden rat-dogs getting married. Seriously. From there, two of our (human) upscale Beverly Hills upstarts (Erin Cahill and Susan Blakely, filling in for Piper Perabo and Jamie Lee Curtis, respectively) go on some sort of expedition, leaving lead live actor Marcus Coloma (replacing Manuel Cardona) to baby-sit newly-married Papi (Lopez), Chloe (Odette Yustman) and their five new additions to the family of ugly plague-ridden rat-dogs: Stinky, Sleepy, Sneazy, Sleazy and L‘il Kim. (at least, I think those were their names — I could be wrong there, folks).
From there, Coloma discovers his onscreen parents are in danger of losing their house from a nefarious bank manager (who we know is the bad guy since he’s ambiguously gay and is an admitted cat-lover!) and has to come up with a way to save the day. Sure, it only takes about an hour for that single solitary plot point to come into play, but you just know he’ll pull it off — especially with the eager assistance of all the talking ugly plague-ridden rat-dogs the film sports. Also on hand to help is Delgado (the surprisingly Mexican German Shepherd from the first film, voiced by Miguel Ferrer this time) and an equally-ugly pit bull that is voiced by Ernie Hudson (oh, Ernie, you poor man, you).
While the film positively wreaks of wet dog throughout, there was at least one slightly amusing moment for me, wherein French Stewart and Morgan Fairchild appear as commentators for a dog show that our ugly plague-ridden rat-dogs enter in an attempt to help the humans out with their financial woes. Fairchild looks positively ashamed (which is saying something), while Stewart, however, has mastered the fine art of humility after the many lousy movies and television shows he’s been in over the years. Although their parts are brief, it appears that Stewart was ad-libbing his way right through the grueling one-hour shoot — delighting his mortified co-star with stupid jokes and risqué remarks the whole time (the latter of which have been edited to appear family friendly, but you can tell they were there).
But then, on the other hand, perhaps French Stewart was just being French Stewart — and I was simply reading way too much into that scene in an attempt to muster up the courage I would need to sit through the remainder of the film (which was also bad, by the way). Of course, no matter what I did to fight the pain (the alcohol, the vice, the screaming, the shooting up of illegal narcotics — which I had to dub “insulin” to the kids so they wouldn’t get suspicious), I still couldn’t shake the whole “Disney Hates Mexicans and Gays” vibe this movie gave me (although that could’ve been the heroin talking, too).
Oh, well — at least Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 looks good on Blu-ray. In fact, the 1080p/AVC transfer of this direct-to-video fail is pretty darn impressive! The movie is presented in a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio, with some truly gorgeous colors, deep contrast and blacks, and a staggeringly-striking amount of detail. As a matter of fact, this transfer enabled me to see more of an ugly plague-ridden rat-dog’s sphincter than I ever wanted to. It really makes you wonder, too: why bother putting this much effort into something that kids are going to watch?
And then there’s the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack. It’s very good, but it’s not all that great — even when you omit the whole “cookie-cutter Disney dialogue, music and sound effects” factor. Most of the audio action trickles out of the front speakers here, while the rear speakers don’t get a whole lot of (ahem) tail. Let’s put it this way: it goes with the all-too-impressive picture quite well. Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtracks are also included. English (SDH), Spanish and French subtitles are also included.
Included in Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2’s illustrious Special Features section are a couple of ho-hum (and thankfully short) featurettes: an interactive game (“Beverly Hills Chihuahua Challenge”), a blooper reel entitled “Blooper Faux Paws” (groan), and some music video featuring one of the many identical-sounding Disney artists they have goin’ ‘round these days.
Also included in the initial Blu-ray release is a Bonus Standard DVD of the film — should smashing the movie into a kajillion little plastic pieces a single time not prove as fruitful as you would hope.Powered by Sidelines