Written by Hombre Divertido
Beverly Hills Chihuahua is sure to garner some “Look, Mommy, talking dogs!” comments from young children, but there is little here for anyone over the age of six.
Released on DVD on Tuesday March 3rd from Disney, this story of a spoiled Chihuahua who gets dognapped south of the border features an all-star cast, but that is not always a good thing. Somewhere along the line Disney and other companies producing animated features got the brilliant idea to use popular actors in their films rather that trained voiceover actors. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it does not like Beverly Hills Chihuahua.
Drew Barrymore gives a one-dimensional performance as Chloe, the dainty dog with the high-class digs who gets lost. The rest of the vocal talent simply lacks the energy appropriate for the canines in which they are voicing. The exception would be Cheech Marin as the voice of Manuel the conniving rat, but this comedic genius is given little to say that is actually humorous. Considering that Marin’s performance as a wisecracking Chihuahua in Disney’s Oliver and Company was the bright spot of that film, Marin certainly could have been given a more significant part in this outing.
The humans in the film fare a bit better. Hard to go wrong with Jamie Lee Curtis and Piper Perabo, though the writing tends to let them down. Curtis is given little to do, and Perabo’s character makes a complete transition from a rich, irresponsible, uncaring, young socialite into Violet Sanford from Coyote Ugly over the course of the film, with little motivation. Nonetheless, the two talented actresses are giving their all, and the energy between Perabo and Manolo Cardona as Sam the attractive young Landscaper who, along with his Chihuahua Papi (George Lopez), assists Pearbo in the search for Chloe, results in some of the most endearing moments in the film.
Chloe eventually gets home after making many friends, finding her roots as well as her voice, and love along the way. The film certainly takes some interesting turns as it trots from believability to implausibility in both storytelling and special effects. In certain scenes the latter are actually quite good, but in many scenes they look awful and are certainly not worthy of Disney.
The bonus material is thin, and like the movie is also slated specifically to the very young. The animated short “Legend of the Chihuahua” is awkward at best, the deleted scenes are mildly interesting, but the funniest thing about the blooper reel is that it is titled “Blooper Scooper” which is ironically accurate. The bonus material also includes optional audio commentary by Director Raja Gosnell.
Recommendation: Young children may enjoy the talking dogs, but there is simply not enough comedy here for adults who don’t want to spend 91 minutes watching dogs with cartoon mouths. A simplified story with better special effects and a script with some comedic moments would have better served a wider audience. Skip this one and rent Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey.